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Originai.  Advertisements 

The  Author’s  Apology 

Account  of  the  Author 

Address  to  the  Public 

BOOK  1. 


Chap.  I. — Description  of  the  World  . 

Chap.  II. — Cosmogony,  or  Creation  of  the 
World ; with  a multitude  of  excellent 
theories,  by  which  the  creation  of  a world  is 
shown  to  be  no  such  difficult  matter  as  com- 
mon folk  would  imagine  .... 

Chap.  III. — How  that  famous  navigator,  Noah, 
was  shamefully  nicknamed  ; and  how  he 
committed  an  unpardonable  oversight  in  not 



having  four  sons  ; with  the  great  trouble  of 
philosophers  caused  thereby,  and  the  dis- 
covery of  America 6i 

Chap.  IV. — Showing  the  great  difficulty  philoso- 
phers have  had  in  peopling  America ; and 
how  the  Aborigines  came  to  be  begotten  by 
accident — to  the  great  relief  and  satisfaction 
of  the  Author 72 

Chap.  V. — In  which  the  Author  puts  a mighty 
question  to  the  rout,  by  the  assistance  of  the 
Man  in  the  Moon — which  not  only  delivers 
thousands  of  people  from  great  embarrass- 
ment, but  likewise  concludes  this  introduc- 
tory book . 84 



Chap.  T. — In  which  are  contained  divers  reasons 
why  a man  should  not  w^rite  in  a hurry  ; also, 
of  Master  Hendrick  Hudson,  his  discovery 
of  a strange  country, — and  how  he  was  mag- 
nificently rewarded  by  the  munificence  of 
their  High  Mightinesses  . . . .113 

Chap.  H. — Containing  an  account  of  a mighty 
Ark  which  floated,  under  the  protection  of 
St.  Nicholas,  from  Holland  to  Gibbet  Island, 

— the  descent  of  the  strange  animals  there- 
from,— a great  victory,  and  a description  of 
the  ancient  village  of  Communipaw  . . 131 


Chap.  III. — In  which  is  set  forth  the  true  art  of 
making  a bargain — together  with  the  mirac- 
ulous escape  of  a great  metropolis  in  a fog — 
and  the  biography  of  certain  heroes  of  Com- 

Chap.  IV. — How  the  heroes  of  Commuuipaw 
voyaged  to  Hell-gate,  and  how  they  were 
received  there  ...... 

Chap.  V. — How  the  heroes  of  Communipaw 
returned  somewhat  wiser  than  they  went — 
and  how  the  sage  Oloflfe  dreamed  a dream — 
and  the  dream  that  he  dreamed  . 

Chap.  VI. — Containing  an  attempt  at  etymology 
— and  of  the  founding  of  the  great  city  of 
New  Amsterdam  ...... 

Chap.  VH. — How  the  people  of  Pavonia  migrated 
from  Communipaw  to  the  island  of  Manna- 
hata — and  how  Oloffe  the  Dreamer  proved 
himself  a great  laud-speculator 

Chap.  VIH. — Of  the  founding  and  naming  of  the 
new  city  ; of  the  City  Arms  ; and  of  the  dire- 
ful feud  between  Ten  Breeches  and  Tough 
Breeches  ....... 

Chap.  IX. — How  the  city  of  New  Amsterdam 
waxed  great  under  the  protection  of  St. 
Nicholas  and  the  absence  of  laws  and  statutes 
— How  Oloffe  the  Dreamer  begun  to  dream  of 
an  extension  of  empire,  and  of  the  effect  of 
his  dreams  ....... 



Chap.  I. — Of  the  renowned  Wouter  Van  Twiller, 
his  unparalleled  virtues — as  likewise  his 
unutterable  wisdom  in  the  law-case  of  Wandle 
Schoonhoven  and  Barent  Bleecker — and  the 
great  admiration  of  the  public  thereat  . . 217 

Chap.  II. — Containingsome  account  of  the  grand 
council  of  New  Amsterdam,  as  also  divers 
especial  good  philosophical  reasons  why  an 
alderman  should  be  fat — with  other  particu- 
lars touching  the  state  of  the  province  . 232 

Chap.  III. — How  the  town  of  New  Amsterdam 
arose  out  of  mud,  and  came  to  be  marvel- 
lously polished  and  polite — together  with  a 
picture  of  the  manners  of  our  great-great- 
grandfathers   248 

Chap.  IV. — Containing  further  particulars  of  the 
Golden  Age,  and  what  constituted  a fine  lady 
and  gentleman  in  the  days  of  Walter  the 
Doubter  ........ 

Chap.  V. — Of  the  founding  of  Fort  Aurania — Of 
the  mysteries  of  the  Hudson — Of  the  arrival 
of  thePatroon  Killian  Van  Rensellaer  ; his 
lordly  descent  upon  the  earth,  and  his  intro- 
duction of  club-law’  ..... 

Chap.  VI. — In  which  the  reader  is  beguiled  into 
a delectable  walk,  which  ends  very  differently 
from  what  it  commenced  ....  277 





Chap.  VII. — Faithfully  describing  the  ingenious 
people  of  Connecticut  and  thereabouts — 
showing,  moreover,  the  true  meaning  of 
liberty  of  conscience,  and  a curious  device, 
among  these  sturdy  barbarians,  to  keep  up  a 
harmony  of  intercourse,  and  promote  popu- 
lation   286 

Chap.  VIII. — How  these  singular  barbarians 
turned  out  to  be  notorious  squatters — How 
they  built  air-castles,  and  attempted  to 
initiate  the  Nederlanders  into  the  mystery 
of  bundling 295 

Chap.  IX. — How  the  Fort  Goed  Hoop  was 
fearfully  beleaguered — How  the  renowned 
Wouter  fell  into  a profound  doubt,  and  how 
he  finally  evaporated 304 



Chap.  I. — Showing  the  nature  of  history  in 
general  ; — containing  furthermore  the  uni- 
versal acquirements  of  William  the  Testy, 
and  how  a man  may  learn  so  much  as  to 
render  himself  good  for  nothing  . . . 317 

Chap.  H. — How  William  the  Testy  undertook  to 
conquer  by  proclamation — How  he  was  a 
great  man  abroad,  but  a little  man  in  his 
own  house  .......  326 


PAG  3 








“mount  astride  of  his  tail,  and  away  he 





THE  people  of  north  AMERICA  ACCORDING  TO 











“WHO  rideth  on  the  great  bear  and  USETH 





POST  uneess  the  wind  beew 



THE  broad-mouthed  DAUGHTER  OF  THE  DUTCH 




TOUGH  breeches 









“and  anon  they  vSEEMED  sinking  into  yawn- 
ing guefs”  




IN  DIM  obscurity  HE  SAW  SHADOWED  OUT 







SET  eight-minded  hearers  in  a roar 



here  woued  he  smoke  his  pipe  of  a suetry 







OF  PETTICOATS  ” ...... 























From  the  Evening  Post  of  October  26,  i8og. 

Left  his  lodgings,  some  time  since,  and  has  not  since 
been  heard  of,  a small  elderly  gentleman,  dressed  in 
an  old  black  coat  and  cocked  hat,  by  the  name  of 
Knickerbocker.  As  there  are  some  reasons  for  believ- 
ing he  is  not  entirely  in  his  right  mind,  and  as  great 
anxiety  is  entertained  about  him,  any  information 
concerning  him  left  either  at  the  Columbian  Hotel, 
Mulberry  Street,  or  at  the  office  of  this  paper,  will  be 
thankfully  received. 

P.  S. — Printers  of  newspapers  would  be  aiding  the 
cause  of  humanity  in  giving  an  insertion  to  the  above. 

From  the  same,  November  6,  i8og. 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Evening  Post : 

Sir, — Having  read  in  your  paper  of  the  26th  Octo- 
ber last,  a paragraph  respecting  an  old  gentleman  by 



the  name  of  Knickerbocker,  who  was  missing  from  his 
lodgings  ; if  it  would  be  any  relief  to  his  friends,  or 
furnish  them  with  any  clue  to  discover  where  he  is, 
you  may  inform  them  that  a person  answering  the 
description  given,  was  seen  by  the  passengers  of  the 
Albany  stage,  early  in  the  morning,  about  four  or  five 
weeks  since,  resting  himself  by  the  side  of  the  road,  a 
little  above  King’s  Bridge.  He  had  in  his  hand  a 
small  bundle,  tied  in  a red  bandana  handkerchief ; he 
appeared  to  be  travelling  northward,  and  was  very 
much  fatigued  and  exhausted. 


From  the  same,  November  i6,  i8og. 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Evening  Post  : 

Sir, — You  have  been  good  enough  to  publish  in 
your  paper  a paragraph  about  Mr.  Diedrich  Knicker- 
bocker, who  was  missing  so  strangely  some  time  since. 
Nothing  satisfactory  has  been  heard  of  the  old  gentle- 
man since  ; but  a very  curious  kind  of  a writte7t  book 
has  been  found  in  his  room,  in  his  own  handwriting. 
Now  I wish  you  to  notice  him,  if  he  is  still  alive,  that 
if  he  does  not  return  and  pay  off  his  bill  for  boarding 
and  lodging,  I shall  have  to  dispose  of  his  book  to 
satisfy  me  for  the  same. 

I am,  sir,  your  humble  servant, 


Landlord  of  the  Independent  Columbian  Hotel, 

Mulberry  Street. 


From  the  same,  November  28,  i8og. 

Inskeep  & Bradford  have  in  press,  and  will  shortly 


In  two  volumes,  duodecimo.  Price  Three  Dollars. 

Containing  an  account  of  its  discovery  and  settlement, 
with  its  internal  policies,  manners,  customs,  wars, 
&c.,  &c.,  under  the  Dutch  government,  furnishing 
many  curious  and  interesting  particulars  never  before 
published,  and  which  are  gathered  from  various 
manuscript  and  other  authenticated  sources,  the 
whole  being  interspersed  with  philosophical  specula- 
tions and  moral  precepts. 

This  work  was  found  in  the  chamber  of  Mr.  Diedrich 
Knickerbocker,  the  old  gentleman  whose  sudden  and 
mysterious  disappearance  has  been  noticed.  It  is 
published  in  order  to  discharge  certain  debts  he  has 
left  behind. 



Itbe  autbor’s  apology 

B"  HE  following  work,  in  which, 
at  the  outset,  nothing  more 
was  contemplated  than  a 
temporary  jeu  d'  esprit^  was 
' commenced  in  company  with 

my  brother,  the  late  Peter 

Irving,  Ksq.  Our  idea  was,  to  parody  a small 
handbook  which  had  recently  appeared,  en- 
titled A Picture  of  New  York.  Like  that,  our 
work  was  to  begin  with  an  historical  sketch  ; 
to  be  followed  by  notices  of  the  customs, 
manners,  and  institutions  of  the  city ; writ- 


' , i / / 

^ V A 

B 1bi6tors  of  IWcw  lorl? 

ten  in  a serio-comic  vein,  and  treating  local 
errors,  follies,  and  abuses  with  good-humored 

To  burlesque  the  pedantic  lore  displayed  in 
certain  American  works,  our  historical  sketch 
was  to  commence  with  the  creation  of  the 
world  ; and  we  laid  all  kinds  of  works  under 
contribution  for  trite  citations,  relevant,  or 
irrelevant,  to  give  it  the  proper  air  of  learned 
research.  Before  this  crude  mass  of  mock 
erudition  could  be  digested  into  form,  my 
brother  departed  for  Europe,  and  I was  left 
to  prosecute  the  enterprise  alone. 

I now  altered  the  plan  of  the  work.  Dis- 
carding all  idea  of  a parody  on  the  Picture 
of  New  York  I determined  that  what  had 
been  originally  intended  as  an  introductory 
sketch,  should  comprise  the  whole  work,  and 
form  a comic  history  of  the  city.  I accord- 
ingly moulded  the  mass  of  citations  and  dis- 
quisitions into  introductory  chapters,  forming 
the  first  book  ; but  it  soon  became  evident  to 
me,  that,  like  Robinson  Crusoe  with  his  boat, 
I had  begun  on  too  large  a scale,  and  that,  to 
launch  my  history  successfully,  I must  reduce 
its  proportions.  I accordingly  resolved  to  con- 
fine it  to  the  period  of  the  Dutch  domination, 
which,  in  its  rise,  progress,  and  decline,  pre- 
sented that  unity  of  subject  required  by  classic 

II  w 

rule.  It  was  a period,  also,  at  that  time  al- 
most a ^erra  incognita  in  history.  In  fact,  I 
was  surprised  to  find  how  few  of  my  fellow- 
citizens  were  aware  that  New  York  had  ever 
been  called  New  Amsterdam,  or  had  heard  of 
the  names  of  its  early  Dutch  governors,  or 
cared  a straw  about  their  ancient  Dutch  pro- 

This,  then,  broke  upon  me  as  the  poetic  age 
of  our  city  ; poetic  from  its  very  obscurity  ; and 
open,  like  the  early  and  obscure  days  of  an- 
cient Rome,  to  all  the  embellishments  of  heroic 
fiction.  I hailed  my  native  city,  as  fortunate 
above  all  other  American  cities,  in  having  an 
antiquity  thus  extending  back  into  the  regions 
of  doubt  and  fable  ; neither  did  I conceive  I 
was  committing  any  grievous  historical  sin  in 
helping  out  the  few  facts  I could  collect  in  this 
remote  and  forgotten  region  with  figments  of 
my  own  brain,  or  in  giving  characteristic  attri- 
butes to  the  few  names  connected  with  it  which 
I might  dig  up  from  oblivion. 

In  this,  doubtless,  I reasoned  like  a young 
and  inexperienced  writer,  besotted  with  his 
own  fancies  ; and  my  presumptuous  trespasses 
into  this  sacred,  though  neglected  region  of 
history  have  met  with  deserved  rebuke  from 
men  of  soberer  minds.  It  is  too  late,  however, 
to  recall  the  shaft  thus  rashly  launched.  To 

/( i' 

^Tbe  Butbor's  Bpolog^ 

In  this  I have  reason  to  believe  I have  in 
some  measure  succeeded.  Before  the  appear- 
ance of  my  work  the  popular  traditions  of  our 
city  were  unrecorded ; the  peculiar  and  racy 
customs  and  usages  derived  from  our  Dutch 
progenitors  were  unnoticed  or  regarded  with 
indifference,  or  adverted  to  with  a sneer.  Now 
they  form  a convivial  currency,  and  are  brought 
forward  on  all  occasions  ; they  link  our  whole 
community  together  in  good-humor  and  good 
fellowship ; they  are  the  rallying  points  of 
home  feeling,  the  seasoning  of  our  civic  festivi- 
ties, the  staple  of  local  tales  and  local  pleasant- 
ries, and  are  so  harped  upon  by  our  writers  of 
popular  fiction,  that  I find  myself  almost 
crowded  off  the  legendary  ground  which  I 
was  the  first  to  explore,  by  the  host  who  have 
followed  in  my  footsteps. 

I dwell  on  this  head,  because,  at  the  first 
appearance  of  my  work,  its  aim  and  drift  were 
misapprehended  by  some  of  the  descendants  of 
the  Dutch  worthies  ; and  because  I understand 
that  now  and  then  one  may  still  be  found  to 
regard  it  with  a captious  eye.  The  far  greater 
part,  however,  I have  reason  to  flatter  mj^self, 
receive  my  good-humored  picturings  in  the 
same  temper  in  which  they  were  executed  ; 
and  when  I find,  after  a lapse  of  nearly  forty 
years,  this  hap-hazard  production  of  my  youth 

B 1bl6tor^  ot  IRew  l^ork 

still  cherished  among  them, — when  I find  its 
very  name  become  a “household  word”  and 
used  to  give  the  home  stamp  to  everything 
recommended  for  popular  acceptation,  such  as 
Knickerbocker  societies,  Knickerbocker  insur- 
ance companies,  Knickerbocker  steamboats, 
Knickerbocker  omnibuses,  Knickerbocker 
bread,  and  Knickerbocker  ice, — and  when  I 
find  New  Yorkers  of  Dutch  descent  priding 
themselves  upon  being  “genuine  Knicker- 
bockers,”— I please  myself  with  the  persuasion 
that  I have  struck  the  right  chord  ; that  my 
dealings  with  the  good  old  Dutch  times,  and 
the  customs  and  usages  derived  from  them,  are 
in  harmony  with  the  feelings  and  humors  of 
my  townsmen  ; that  I have  opened  a vein  of 
pleasant  associations  and  quaint  characteristics 
peculiar  to  my  native  place,  and  which  its  in- 
habitants will  not  willingly  suffer  to  pass  away  ; 
and  that,  though  other  histories  of  New  York 
may  appear  of  higher  claims  to  learned  accep- 
tation, and  may  take  their  dignified  and 
appropriate  rank  in  the  family  library,  Knick- 
erbocker’s history  will  still  be  received  with 
good-humored  indulgence,  and  be  thumbed 
and  chuckled  over  by  the  family  fireside. 

W.  I. 

SUNNYSIDE,  1848. 


Hccount  of  tbe  Hutbor 

T was  some  time,  if  I 
recollect  right,  in  the 
early  part  of  the  au- 
tumn of  1808,  that  a 
stranger  applied  for 
lodgings  at  the  Inde- 
pendent Columbian  Ho- 
tel in  Mulberry  Street, 
of  which  I am  landlord. 
He  was  a small,  brisk-looking  old  gentleman, 
dressed  in  a rusty  black  coat,  a pair  of  olive 
velvet  breeches,  and  a small  cocked  hat.  He 
had  a few  gray  hairs  plaited  and  clubbed 
behind,  and  his  beard  seemed  to  be  of  some 
eight-and- forty  hours’  growth.  The  only  piece 
of  finery  which  he  bore  about  him  was  a 
bright  pair  of  square  silver  shoe-buckles  ; and 
all  his  baggage  was  contained  in  a pair  of 
saddle-bags,  which  he  carried  under  his  arm. 
His  whole  appearance  was  something  out  of 
the  common  run  ; and  my  wife,  who  is  a very 

SetK  HarvdaS'tif . 



B 1f3i6toi-^  of  Bevv  lork 

shrewd  body,  at  once  set  him  down  for  some 
eminent  country  schoolmaster. 

As  the  Independent  Columbian  Hotel  is  a 
very  small  house,  I w^as  a little  puzzled  at  first 
wdiere  to  put  him  ; but  my  wife,  who  seemed 
taken  with  his  looks,  w^ould  needs  put  him  in 
her  best  chamber,  which  is  genteelly  set  off 
with  the  profiles  of  the  whole  family,  done  in 
black,  b}"  those  two  great  painter^^,  Jarvis  and 
Wood  ; and  commands  a very  pleasant  view  of 
the  new  grounds  on  the  Collect,  together  with 
the  rear  of  the  Poor-House  and  Bridewell,  and 
a full  front  of  the  Hospital ; so  that  it  is  the 
cheerfulest  room  in  the  whole  house. 

During  the  whole  time  that  he  stayed  with 
us,  we  found  him  a very  worth}-  good  sort 
of  an  old  gentleman,  though  a little  queer 
in  his  ways.  He  would  keep  in  his  room  for 
days  together,  and  if  an}-  of  the  children 
cried,  or  made  a noise  about  his  door,  he 
would  bounce  out  in  a great  passion,  with 
his  hands  full  of  papers,  and  say  something 
about  “deranging  his  ideas”;  which  made 
my  wife  believe  sometimes  that  he  was  not 
altogether  co^npos.  Indeed,  there  was  more 
than  one  reason  to  make  her  think  so,  for  his 
room  was  always  covered  with  scraps  of  paper 
and  old  mouldy  books,  lying  about  at  sixes 
and  sevens,  which  he  would  never  let  anybody 





lo  B 1bi6tor^  of  IRew  l^ork 

touch  ; for  he  said  he  had  laid  them  all  away 
in  their  proper  places,  so  that  he  might  know 
where  to  find  them  ; though  for  that  matter, 
he  was  half  his  time  worrying  about  the  house 
in  search  of  some  book  or  writing  which  he 
had  carefully  put  out  of  the  way.  I shall 
never  forget  what  a pother  he  once  made, 
because  my  wife  cleaned  out  his  room  w^hen 
his  back  was  turned,  and  put  everything  to 
rights  ; for  he  swore  he  would  never  be  able 
to  get  his  papers  in  order  again  in  a twelve- 
month.  Upon  this,  my  wife  ventured  to  ask 
him  what  he  did  with  so  many  books  and 
papers ; and  he  told  her  that  he  was  ‘ ‘ seek- 
ing for  immortality  ’ ’ ; which  made  her  think 
more  than  ever  that  the  poor  old  gentleman’s 
head  was  a little  cracked. 

He  was  a very  inquisitive  body,  and  when 
not  in  his  room,  was  continually  poking  about 
town,  hearing  all  the  news,  and  prying  into 
everything  that  was  goin^  on  : this  was  par- 
ticularly the  case  about  election  time,  when  he 
did  nothing  but  bustle  about  from  poll  to  poll, 
attending  all  ward  meetings,  and  committee 
rooms ; though  I could  never  find  that  he 
took  part  with  either  side  of  the  question. 
On  the  contrary,  he  would  come  home  and  rail 
at  both  parties  with  great  wrath, — and  plainly 
proved  one  day,  to  the  satisfaction  of  my  wife 


Bccount  of  tbe  Butbor 



and  three  old  ladies  who  were  drinking  tea 
with  her,  that  the  two  parties  were  like  two 
rogues,  each  tugging  at  a skirt  of  the  nation  ; 
and  that  in  the  end  they  would  tear  the  very 
coat  off  its  back,  and  expose  its  nakedness. 
Indeed,  he  was  an  oracle  among  the  neigh- 
bors, who  would  collect  around  him  to  hear 
him  talk  of  an  afternoon,  as  he  smoked  his 
pipe  on  the  bench  before  the  door ; and  I 
really  believe  he  would  have  brought  over  the 
whole  neighborhood  to  his  own  side  of  the 
question,  if  they  could  ever  have  found  out 
what  it  was. 

He  was  very  much  given  to  argue,  or,  as 
he  called  it,  philosophize^  about  the  most  tri- 
fling matter  ; and  to  do  him  justice,  I never 
knew  anybody  that  was  a match  for  him, 
except  it  was  a grave-looking  old  gentleman 
who  called  now  and  then  to  see  him,  and  often 
posed  him  in  an  argument.  But  this  is  noth- 
ing surprising,  as  I have  since  found  out  this 
stranger  is  the  city  librarian  ; who,  of  course, 
must  be  a man  of  great  learning : and  I have 
my  doubts  if  he  had  not  some  hand  in  the 
following  history. 

As  our  lodger  had  been  a long  time  with  us, 
and  we  had  never  received  any  pay,  m}^  wife 
began  to  be  somewhat  uneasy,  and  curious  to 
find  out  who  and  what  he  was.  She  accord- 

IV  V 

ingly  made  bold  to  put  the  question  to  his 
friend,  the  librarian,  who  replied  in  his  dry 
way  that  he  was  one  of  the  literati^  which  she 
supposed  to  mean  some  new  party  in  politics. 
I scorn  to  push  a lodger  for  his  pay  ; so  I let 
da}^  after  day  pass  on  without  dunning  the  old 
gentleman  for  a farthing  : but  my  wife,  who 
always  takes  these  matters  on  herself,  and  is, 
as  I said,  a shrewd  kind  of  a woman,  at  last  got 
out  of  patience,  and  hinted  that  she  thought 
it  high  time  ‘ ‘ some  people  should  have  a 
sight  of  some  people’s  money.”  To  which 
the  old  gentleman  replied,  in  a might}^  touchy 
manner,  that  she  need  not  make  herself  un- 
easy, for  that  he  had  a treasure  there  (point- 
ing to  his  saddle-bags)  worth  her  whole  house 
put  together.  This  was  the  only  answer  we 
could  ever  get  from  him  ; and  as  my  wife,  by 
some  of  those  odd  ways  in  which  women  find 
out  everjdhing,  learnt  that  he  was  of  very 
great  connections,  being  related  to  the  Knick- 
erbockers of  Schaghtikoke,  and  cousin-german 
to  the  congressman  of  that  name,  she  did  not 
like  to  treat  him  uncivilly.  What  is  more,  she 
even  offered,  merely  by  way  of  making  things 
easy,  to  let  him  live  scot-free,  if  he  would 
teach  the  children  their  letters  ; and  to  try  her 
best  and  get  her  neighbors  to  send  their  chil- 
dren also  : but  the  old  gentleman  took  it  in 

Bccount  of  tbe  Butbor 


such  dudgeon,  and  seemed  so  affronted  at  j 
being  taken  for  a schoolmaster,  that  she  never 
dared  to  speak  on  the  subject  again.  i 

About  two  months  ago  he  went  out  of  a 
morning,  with  a bundle  in  his  hand,  and  has 
never  been  heard  of  since.  All  kinds  of  in- 
quiries were  made  after  him,  but  in  vain.  I 
wrote  to  his  relations  at  Schaghtikoke,  but  they 
sent  for  answer,  that  he  had  not  been  there 
since  the  year  before  last,  when  he  had  a great 
dispute  with  the  congressman  about  politics, 
and  left  the  place  in  a huff,  and  they  had  nei- 
ther heard  nor  seen  anything  of  him  from  that 
time  to  this.  I must  own  I felt  very  much 
worried  about  the  poor  old  gentleman,  for  I 
thought  something  bad  must  have  happened 
to  him,  that  he  should  be  missing  so  long,  and  I 
never  return  to  pay  his  bill.  I therefore  ad- 
vertised him  in  the  newspapers,  and  though  my 
melancholy  advertisement  was  published  by 
several  humane  printers,  yet  I have  never  been 
able  to  learn  anything  satisfactory  about  him. 

My  wife  now  said  it  was  high  time  to  take 
care  of  ourselves,  and  see  if  he  had  left  any- 
thing behind  in  his  room,  that  would  pay  us 
for  his  board  and  lodging.  We  found  nothing,  I 
however,  but  some  old  books  and  musty  writ- 
ings, and  his  saddle-bags  ; which,  being  opened 
in  the  presence  of  the  librarian,  contained  only 

14  B Ibistor^  of  IRcw  HJork 

a few  articles  of  worn-out  clothes,  and  a large 
bundle  of  blotted  paper.  On  looking  over  this, 
the  librarian  told  us  he  had  no  doubt  it  was  the 
treasure  which  the  old  gentleman  had  spoken 
about ; as  it  proved  to  be  a most  excellent  and 
faithful  History  of  Nfw  York,  which  he 
advised  us  by  all  means  to  publish,  assuring  us 
that  it  would  be  so  eagerly  bought  up  by  a dis- 
cerning public,  that  he  had  no  doubt  it  would 
be  enough  to  pay  our  arrears  ten  times  over. 
Upon  this  we  got  a very  learned  schoolmaster, 
who  teaches  our  children,  to  prepare  it  for  the 
press,  which  he  accordingly  has  done  ; and  has, 
moreover,  added  to  it  a number  of  valuable 
notes  of  his  own. 

This,  therefore,  is  a true  statement  of  my 
reasons  for  having  this  work  printed,  without 
waiting  for  the  consent  of  the  author  ; and  I 
here  declare,  that,  if  he  ever  returns  (though 
I much  fear  some  unhappy  accident  has  befallen 
him)  I stand  ready  to  account  with  him  like  a 
true  and  honest  man.  Which  is  all  at  present. 

From  the  public’s  humble  servant, 

Sfth  Handasidf. 

Independent  Columbian  Hotel,  New  York. 

The  foregoing  account  of  the  author  was  pre- 
fixed to  the  first  edition  of  this  work.  Shortly 
after  its  publication,  a letter  was  received  from 

him,  by  Mr.  Handaside,  dated  at  a small  Dutch 
village  on  the  banks  of  the  Hudson,  whither  he 
had  travelled  for  the  purpose  of  inspecting  cer- 
tain ancient  records.  As  this  was  one  of  those 
few  and  happy  villages  into  which  newspapers 
never  find  their  way,  it  is  not  a matter  of  sur- 
prise that  Mr.  Knickerbocker  should  never 
have  seen  the  numerous  advertisements  that 
were  made  concerning  him,  and  that  he  should 
learn  of  the  publication  of  his  history  by  mere 

He  expressed  much  concern  at  its  prema- 
ture appearance,  as  thereby  he  was  prevented 
from  making  several  important  corrections  and 
alterations,  as  well  as  from  profiting  by  many 
curious  hints  which  he  had  collected  during 
his  travels  along  the  shores  of  the  Tappan  Sea, 
and  his  sojourn  at  Haverstraw  and  Ksopus. 

Finding  that  there  was  no  longer  any  imme- 
diate necessity  for  his  return  to  New  York,  he 
extended  his  journey  up  to  the  residence  of  his 
relations  at  Schaghtikoke.  On  his  way  thither 
he  stopped  for  some  days  at  Albany,  for  which 
city  he  is  known  to  have  entertained  a great 
partiality.  He  found  it,  however,  considerably 
altered,  and  was  much  concerned  at  the  inroads 
and  improvements  which  the  Yankees  were 
making,  and  the  consequent  decline  of  the  good 
old  Dutch  manners.  Indeed,  he  was  informed 

B of  IRevv  lork 

that  these  intruders  were  making  sad  innova- 
tions in  all  parts  of  the  State  ; where  they  had 
given  great  trouble  and  vexation  to  the  regular 
Dutch  settlers  by  the  introduction  of  turnpike- 
gates,  and  country  school-houses.  It  is  said, 
also,  that  Mr.  Knickerbocker  shook  his  head 
sorrowfully  at  noticing  the  gradual  decay  of 
the  great  Vander  Heyden  palace ; but  was 
highly  indignant  at  finding  that  the  ancient 
Dutch  church,  which  stood  in  the  middle  of  the 
street,  had  been  pulled  down  since  his  last  visit. 

The  fame  of  Mr.  Knickerbocker’s  history 
having  reached  even  to  Albany,  he  received 
much  flattering  attention  from  its  worthy  burgh- 
ers, some  of  whom,  however,  pointed  out  two 
or  three  very  great  errors  he  had  fallen  into, 
particularly  that  of  suspending  a lump  of  sugar 
over  the  Albany  tea-tables,  which,  they  assured 
him,  had  been  discontinued  for  some  years  past. 
Several  families,  moreover,  were  somewhat 
piqued  that  their  ancestors  had  not  been  men- 
tioned in  his  work,  and  showed  great  jealousy 
of  their  neighbors  who  had  thus  been  distin- 
guished ; while  the  latter,  it  must  be  confessed, 
plumed  themselves  vastly  thereupon  ; consid- 
ering these  recordings  in  the  light  of  letters- 
patent  of  nobility,  establishing  their  claims  to 
ancestry, — which,  in  this  republican  countiyq 
is  a matter  of  no  little  solicitude  and  vainglory. 



It  is  also  said,  that  he  enjoyed  high  favor  and 
countenance  from  the  governor,  who  once 
asked  him  to  dinner,  and  was  seen  two  or  three 
times  to  shake  hands  with  him,  when  they 
met  in  the  streets  ; which  certainly  was  going 
great  lengths,  considering  that  they  differed  in 
politics.  Indeed,  certain  of  the  governor’s 
confidential  friends,  to  whom  he  could  venture 
to  speak  his  mind  freely  on  such  matters,  have 
assured  us,  that  he  privately  entertained  a con- 
siderable good  will  for  our  author, — nay,  he 
even  once  went  so  far  as  to  declare,  and  that 
openly  too,  and  at  his  own  table,  j ust  after  din- 
ner, that  ‘ ‘ Knickerbocker  was  a very  well- 
meaning  sort  of  an  old  gentleman,  and  no  fool.” 
From  all  which  many  have  been  led  to  suppose 
that,  had  our  author  been  of  different  politics, 
and  written  for  the  newpapers  instead  of  wast- 
ing his  talents  on  histories,  he  might  have  risen 
to  some  post  of  honor  and  profit, — peradven- 
ture,  to  be  a notary-public,  or  even  a justice  in 
the  ten-pound  court. 

Beside  the  honors  and  civilities  already  men- 
tioned, he  was  much  caressed  by  the  literati  of 
Albany  ; particularly  by  Mr.  John  Cook,  who 
entertained  him  very  hospitably  at  his  circula- 
ting library  and  reading-room,  where  they  used 
to  drink  Spa  water,  and  talk  about  the  ancients. 
He  found  Mr.  Cook  a man  after  his  own  heart, 



B Ibistors  of  IRcw  lork 

— of  great  literary  research,  and  a curious  col- 
lector of  books.  At  parting,  the  latter,  in  tes- 
timony of  friendship,  made  him  a present  of 
the  two  oldest  works  in  his  collection  ; which 
were  the  earliest  edition  of  the  Heidelberg  Cat- 
echism, and  Adrian  Vander  Donck’s  famous 
account  of  the  New  Netherlands  : by  the  last 
of  which,  Mr.  Knickerbocker  profited  greatly 
in  his  second  edition. 

Having  passed  some  time  very  agreeably  at 
Albany,  our  author  proceeded  to  Schaghti- 
koke,  where,  it  is  but  justice  to  say,  he  was 
received  with  open  arms,  and  treated  with  won- 
derful loving-kindness.  He  was  much  looked 
up  to  by  the  family,  being  the  first  historian 
of  the  name  ; and  was  considered  almost  as 
great  a man  as  his  cousin  the  congressman, — 
with  whom,  by  the  by,  he  became  perfectly 
reconciled,  and  contracted  a strong  friendship. 

In  spite,  however,  of  the  kindness  of  his 
relations  and  their  great  attention  to  his  com- 
forts, the  old  gentleman  soon  became  restless 
and  discontented.  His  history  being  pub- 
lished, he  had  no  longer  any  business  to 
occupy  his  thoughts,  or  any  scheme  to  excite 
his  hopes  and  anticipations.  This,  to  a busy 
mind  like  his,  was  a truly  deplorable  situation  ; 
and,  had  he  not  been  a man  of  inflexible  morals 
and  regular  habits,  there  would  have  been 


Bccount  of  tbe  Butbor 


great  danger  of  his  taking  to  politics,  or  drink- 
ing,— ^botli  which  pernicious  vices  we  daily 
see  men  driven  to  by  mere  spleen  and  idle- 

It  is  true,  he  sometimes  employed  himself 
in  preparing  a second  edition  of  his  history, 
wherein  he  endeavored  to  correct  and  improve 
many  passages  with  which  he  was  dissatisfied, 
and  to  rectify  some  mistakes  that  had  crept 
into  it ; for  he  was  particularly  anxious  that 
his  work  should  be  noted  for  its  authenticity  ; 
which,  indeed,  is  the  very  life  and  soul  of 
history.  But  the  glow  of  composition  had 
departed, — he  had  to  leave  many  places 
untouched,  which  he  would  fain  have  altered  ; 
and  even  where  he  did  make  alterations,  he 
seemed  always  in  doubt  whether  they  were 
for  the  better  or  the  worse. 

After  a residence  of  some  time  at  Schaghti- 
koke,  he  began  to  feel  a strong  desire  to  return 
to  New  York,  which  he  ever  regarded  with 
the  warmest  affection  ; not  merely  because  it 
was  his  native  city,  but  because  he  really  con- 
sidered it  the  very  best  city  in  the  whole  world. 
On  his  return,  he  entered  into  the  full  enjoy- 
ment of  the  advantages  of  a literary  reputation. 
He  was  continually  importuned  to  write  ad- 
vertisements, petitions,  handbills,  and  produc- 
tions of  similar  import ; and,  although  he  never 



meddled  with  the  public  papers,  yet  had  he 
the  credit  of  writing  innumerable  essays,  and 
smart  things,  that  appeared  on  all  subjects,  and 
all  sides  of  the  question  ; in  all  which  he  was 
clearly  detected  “ by  his  style.” 

He  contracted,  moreover,  a considerable  debt 
at  the  post-office,  in  consequence  of  the.  nu- 
merous letters  he  received  from  authors  and 
printers  soliciting  his  subscription,  and  he 
was  applied  to  by  every  charitable  society  for 
yearly  donations,  which  he  gave  very  cheer- 
fully, considering  these  applications  as  so  many 
compliments.  He  was  once  invited  to  a great 
corporation  dinner  ; and  was  even  twice  sum- 
moned to  attend  as  a juryman  at  the  court  of 
quarter  sessions.  Indeed,  so  renowned  did  he 
become,  that  he  could  no  longer  pry  about,  as 
formerly,  in  all  holes  and  corners  of  the  city, 
according  to  the  bent  of  his  humor,  unnoticed 
and  uninterrupted  ; but  several  times  when  he 
has  been  sauntering  the  streets,  on  his  usual 
rambles  of  observation,  equipped  with  his  cane 
and  cocked  hat,  the  little  boys  at  play  have 
been  known  to  cry,  “ There  goes  Diedrich  ! ” 
at  which  the  old  gentleman  seemed  not  a little 
pleased,  looking  upon  these  salutations  in  the 
light  of  the  praise  of  posterity. 

In  a word,  if  we  take  into  consideration  all 
these  various  honors  and  distinctions,  to- 


gether  with  an  exuberant  eulogium  passed  on 
him  in  the  Port  Folio,  (with  which,  we  are 
told,  the  old  gentleman  was  so  much  over- 
powered, that  he  was  sick  for  two  or  three 
days)  it  must  be  confessed,  that  few  authors 
have  ever  lived  to  receive  such  illustrious 
rewards,  or  have  so  completely  enjoyed  in 
advance  their  own  immortality. 

After  his  return  from  Schaghtikoke,  Mr. 
Knickerbocker  took  up  his  residence  at  a 
little  rural  retreat,  which  the  Stuyvesants  had 
granted  him  on  the  family  domain,  in  gratitude 
for  his  honorable  mention  of  their  ancestor. 
It  was  pleasantly  situated  on  the  borders  of 
one  of  the  salt  marshes  beyond  Corlear’s 
Hook ; subject,  indeed,  to  be  occasionally 
overflowed,  and  much  infested,  in  the  summer 
time,  with  mosquitoes  ; but  otherwise  very 
agreeable,  producing  abundant  crops  of  salt 
grass  and  bulrushes. 

Here,  we  are  sorry  to  say,  the  good  old  gen- 
tleman fell  dangerously  ill  of  a fever,  occa- 
sioned by  the  neighboring  marshes.  When 
he  found  his  end  approaching,  he  disposed  of 
his  worldl}^  affairs,  leaving  the  bulk  of  his 
fortune  to  the  New  York  Historical  Society  ; 
his  Heidelberg  Catechism  and  Vander  Donck’s 
work  to  the  city  library  ; and  his  saddle-bags 
to  Mr.  Handaside.  He  forgave  all  his  ene- 


B 1bi6tor^  of  IRevv  lorl? 

mies, — that  is  to  say,  all  who  bore  any  enmity 
towards  him  ; for  as  to  himself,  he  declared  he 
died  in  good  will  with  all  the  world.  And, 
after  dictating  several  kind  messages  to  his 
relations  at  Schaghtikoke,  as  well  as  to  several 
of  our  most  substantial  Dutch  citizens,  he  ex- 
pired in  the  arms  of  his  friend,  the  librarian. 

His  remains  were  interred,  according  to  his 
own  request,  in  St.  Mark’s  churchyard,  close 
by  the  bones  of  his  favorite  hero,  Peter  Stuy- 
vesant  ; and  it  is  rumored  that  the  Historical 
Society  have  it  in  mind  to  erect  a wooden 
monument  to  his  memory  in  the  Bowling 


21  1bi6tor^  of  IRew  l^ork 

thought  I,  and  those  reverend  Dutch  burghers, 
who  serve  as  the  tottering  monuments  of  good 
old  times,  will  be  gathered  to  their  fathers  ; 
their  children,  engrossed  b}-  the  empty  pleas- 
ures or  insignificant  transactions  of  the  present 
age,  will  neglect  to  treasure  up  the  recollec- 
tions of  the  past,  and  posterity  will  search  in 
vain  for  memorials  of  the  da3'’s  of  the  Patri- 
archs. The  origin  of  our  city  will  be  buried 
in  eternal  oblivion,  and  even  the  names  and 
achievements  of  Wouter  \"an  Twiller,  William 
Kieft,  and  Peter  Stu^^vesant,  be  enveloped  in 
doubt  and  fiction,  like  those  of  Romulus  and 
Remus,  of  Charlemagne,  King  Arthur,  Ri- 
naldo,  and  Godfrey-  of  Bologne. 

Determined,  therefore,  to  avert  if  possible 
this  threatened  misfortune,  I industriousl}''  set 
m^’self  to  work,  to  gather  together  all  the 
fragments  of  our  infant  history"  which  still 
existed,  and  like  my  reverend  prototype, 
Herodotus,  where  no  written  records  could 
be  found,  I have  endeavored  to  continue  the 
chain  of  history  b}"  well-authenticated  tra- 

In  this  arduous  undertaking,  which  has 
been  the  whole  business  of  a long  and  solitary 
life,  it  is  incredible  the  number  of  learned 
authors  I have  consulted  ; and  all  but  to  little 
purpose.  Strange  as  it  ma}^  seem,  though 





such  multitudes  of  excellent  works  have  been 
written  about  this  country,  there  are  none 
extant  which  give  any  full  and  satisfactoiy^ 
account  of  the  early  history  of  New  York,  or 
of  its  three  first  Dutch  governors.  I have, 
however,  gained  much  valuable  and  curious 
matter,  from  an  elaborate  manuscript  written 
in  exceeding  pure  and  classic  Low  Dutch,  ex- 
cepting a few  errors  in  orthography,  which 
was  found  in  the  archives  of  the  Stuyvesant 
family.  Many  legends,  letters,  and  other 
documents  have  I likewise  gleaned,  in  my  re- 
searches among  the  family  chests  and  lumber- 
garrets  of  our  respectable  Dutch  citizens  ; and 
I have  gathered  a host  of  well-authenticated 
traditions  from  divers  excellent  old  ladies  of 
my  acquaintance,  who  requested  that  their 
names  might  not  be  mentioned.  Nor  must  I 
neglect  to  mention  how  greatly  I have  been 
assisted  by  that  admirable  and  praiseworthy 
institution,  the  New  York  Historical  Society, 
to  which  I here  publicly  return  my  sincere 
acknowledgments . 

In  the  conduct  of  this  inestimable  work  I 
have  adopted  no  individual  model ; but,  on  the 
contrary,  have  simply  contented  myself  with 
combining  and  concentrating  the  excellences 
of  the  most  approved  ancient  historians.  Like 
Xenophon,  I have  maintained  the  utmost 



B 1bi6tori5  ot  IKlew  l^ork 

impartiality,  and  the  strictest  adherence  to 
truth  throughout  my  history.  I have  enriched 
it  after  the  manner  of  Sallust  with  various 
characters  of  ancient  worthies,  drawn  at  full 
length,  and  faithfully  colored.  I have  sea- 
soned it  with  profound  political  speculations 
like  Thucydides,  sweetened  it  with  the  graces 
of  sentiment  like  Tacitus,  and  infused  into  the 
whole  the  dignity,  the  grandeur,  and  magnifi- 
cence of  Livy. 

I am  aware  that  I shall  incur  the  censure  of 
numerous  very  learned  and  judicious  critics, 
for  indulging  too  frequently  in  the  bold  excur- 
sive manner  of  my  favorite  Herodotus.  And 
to  be  candid,  I have  found  it  impossible  always 
to  resist  the  allurements  of  those  pleasing  epi- 
sodes which,  like  flowery  banks  and  fragrant 
bowers,  beset  the  dusty  road  of  the  historian, 
and  entice  him  to  turn  aside,  and  refresh  him- 
self from  his  wayfaring.  But  I trust  it  will  be 
found  that  I have  always  resumed  my  staff, 
and  addressed  myself  to  my  weary  journey  with 
renovated  spirits,  so  that  both  my  readers  and 
myself  have  been  benefited  by  the  relaxation. 

Indeed,  though  it  has  been  my  constant  wish 
and  uniform  endeavor  to  rival  Polybius  him- 
self, in  observdng  the  requisite  unity  of  history, 
yet  the  loose  and  unconnected  manner  in  which 
many  of  the  facts  herein  recorded  have  come  to 


S'  '-9 

^To  tbe  {public 


hand,  rendered  such  an  attempt  extremely 
difficult.  This  difficulty  was  likewise  increased 
by  one  of  the  grand  objects  contemplated  in 
my  work,  which  was  to  trace  the  rise  of  sundry 
customs  and  institutions  in  this  best  of  cities, 
and  to  compare  them,  when  in  the  germ  of 
infancy,  with  what  they  are  in  the  present  old 
age  of  knowledge  and  improvement. 

But  the  chief  merit  on  which  I value  myself, 
and  found  my  hopes  for  future  regard,  is  that 
faithful  veracity  with  which  I have  compiled 
this  invaluable  little  work  ; carefully  winnow- 
ing away  the  chaff  of  hypothesis,  and  dis- 
carding the  tares  of  fable,  which  are  too  apt  to 
spring  up  and  choke  the  seeds  of  truth  and 
wholesome  knowledge.  Had  I been  anxious 
to  captivate  the  superficial  throng,  who  skim 
like  swallows  over  the  surface  of  literature  ; or 
had  I been  anxious  to  commend  m3'  writings 
to  the  pampered  palates  of  literary  epicures,  I 
might  have  availed  myself  of  the  obscurity 
that  overshadows  the  infant  years  of  our  city, 
to  introduce  a thousand  pleasing  fictions.  But 
I have  scrupulously  discarded  many  a pithy 
tale  and  marvellous  adventure,  whereby  the 
drowsy  ear  of  summer  indolence  might  be 
enthralled  ; jealously  maintaining  that  fidelity, 
gravity,  and  dignity,  which  should  ever  dis- 
tinguish the  historian.  “ For  a writer  of  this 


B 1bi6tori5  ot  IRew  l!)ork 

class,  ’ ’ observes  an  elegant  critic,  ‘ ‘ must  sustain 
the  character  of  a wise  man,  writing  for  the 
instruction  of  posterit}^ ; one  who  has  studied 
to  inform  himself  well,  who  has  pondered  his 
subject  with  care,  and  addresses  himself  to 
our  judgment,  rather  than  to  our  imagination.” 

Thrice  happy,  therefore,  is  this  our  renowned 
city  in  having  incidents  worthy  of  swelling 
the  theme  of  history  ; and  doubly  thrice  happy 
is  it  in. having  such  an  historian  as  m^^self  to 
relate  them.  For  after  all,  gentle  reader,  cities 
of  themselves^  and,  in  fact,  empires  of  themselves, 
are  nothing  without  an  historian.  It  is  the 
patient  narrator  who  records  their  prosperity 
as  they  rise, — who  blazons  forth  the  splendor 
of  their  noon-tide  meridian, — who  props  their 
feeble  memorials  as  they  totter  to  decay, — who 
gathers  together  their  scattered  fragments  as 
they  rot, — and  who  piously,  at  length,  collects 
their  ashes  into  the  mausoleum  of  his  work 
and  rears  a monument  that  will  transmit  their 
renown  to  all  succeeding  ages. 

What  has  been  the  fate  of  many  fair  cities 
of  antiquity,  whose  nameless  ruins  encumber 
the  plains  of  Europe  and  Asia,  and  awaken  the 
fruitless  inquiry  of  the  traveller  ? They  have 
sunk  into  dust  and  silence, — they  have  per- 
ished from  remembrance  for  want  of  an  his- 
torian ! The  philanthropist  ma}^  weep  over 




Zo  tbc  ipubUc 


their  desolation, — the  poet  may  wander  among 
their  mouldering  arches  and  broken  columns, 
and  indulge  the  visionary  flights  of  his  fancy, 
— but,  alas  ! alas  ! the  modern  historian,  whose 
pen,  like  my  own,  is  doomed  to  confine  itself 
to  dull  matter-of-fact,  seeks  in  vain  among 
their  oblivious  remains  for  some  memorial  that 
may  tell  the  instructive  tale  of  their  glory  and 
their  ruin. 

“Wars,  conflagrations,  deluges,”  says  Aris- 
totle, ‘ ‘ destroy  nations,  and  with  them  all 
their  monuments,  their  discoveries,  and  their 
vanities.  The  torch  of  science  has  more  than 
once  been  extinguished  and  rekindled  ; — a few 
individuals,  who  have  escaped  by  accident, 
reunite  the  thread  of  generations.” 

The  same  sad  misfortune  which  has  hap- 
pened to  so  many  ancient  cities  will  happen 
again,  and  from  the  same  sad  cause,  to  nine 
tenths  of  those  which  now  flourish  on  the  face  of 
the  globe.  With  the  most  of  them  the  time  for 
recording  their  early  history  is  gone  by  ; their 
origin,  their  foundation,  together  with  the 
eventful  period  of  their  youth,  are  forever 
buried  in  the  rubbish  of  years  ; and  the  same 
would  have  been  the  case  with  this  fair  portion 
of  the  earth,  if  I had  not  snatched  it  from 
obscurity  in  the  very  nick  of  time,  at  the  mo- 
ment that  those  matters  herein  recorded  were 



B 1bi0tori5  of  IRew  lorft 

about  entering  into  the  wide-spread,  insatiable 
maw  of  oblivion, — if  I had  not  dragged  them 
out,  as  it  were,  by  the  very  locks,  just  as  the 
monster’s  adamantine  fangs  were  closing  upon 
them  forever  ! And  here  have  I,  as  before 
observed,  carefully  collected,  collated,  and  ar- 
ranged them,  scrip  and  scrap,  '' punt  en  punt^ 
gat  en  gat,  ’ ’ and  commenced  in  this  little  work 
a history,  to  serve  as  a foundation  on  which 
other  historians  may  hereafter  raise  a noble 
superstructure,  swelling  in  process  of  time, 
until  Knickerbocker’s  New  York  n\2iy  be  equally 
voluminous  with  Gibbon’s  Rome,  or  Hume  and 
Smollett’s  England  ! 

And  now  indulge  me  for  a moment,  while 
I lay  down  my  pen,  skip  to  some  little  emi- 
nence at  the  distance  of  two  or  three  hundred 
years  ahead  ; and,  casting  back  a bird’s-eye 
glance  over  the  waste  of  years  that  is  to  roll 
between,  discover  myself — little  I — at  this  mo- 
ment the  progenitor,  prototype,  and  precursor 
of  them  all,  posted  at  the  head  of  this  host  of 
literary  worthies,  with  my  book  under  my  arm, 
and  New  York  on  my  back,  pressing  forward, 
like  a gallant  commander,  to  honor  and  im- 

Such  are  the  vainglorious  imaginings  that 
will  now  and  then  enter  into  the  brain  of  the 
author, — that  irradiate,  as  with  celestial  light. 


^To  the  public 

his  solitary  chamber,  cheering  his  weary 
spirits,  and  animating  him  to  persevere  in  his 
labors.  And  I have  freely  given  utterance  to 
these  rhapsodies  whenever  they  have  occurred  ; 
not,  I trust,  from  an  unusual  spirit  of  egotism, 
but  merely  that  the  reader  may  for  once  have 
an  idea  how  an  author  thinks  and  feels  while 
he  is  writing, — a kind  of  knowledge  very  rare 
and  curious,  and  much  to  be  desired. 

\ ^ 6/f 

/»= — 



Cbapter  IT 


CCORDING  to  the  best  authori- 
ties,  the  world  in  which  we  dwell 
\ is  a huge,  opaque,  reflect- 

W ing,  inanimate  mass,  float- 

^ % ing  in  the  vast  ethereal 

ocean  of  infinite  space.  It 
has  the  form  of  an  orange,  being  an  oblate 
spheroid,  curiously  fiattened  at  opposite  parts, 
for  the  insertion  of  two  imaginary  poles,  which 
are  supposed  to  penetrate  and  unite  at  the 
centre,  thus  forming  an  axis  on  which  the 
mighty  orange  turns  with  a regular  diurnal 

The  transitions  of  light  and  darkness, 
whence  proceed  the  alternations  of  day  and 
night,  are  produced  by  this  diurnal  revolution 
successively  presenting  the  different  parts  of 
the  earth  to  the  rays  of  the  sun.  The  latter  is, 
according  to  the  best,  that  is  to  say,  the  latest 
accounts,  a luminous  or  fiery  body,  of  a pro- 
digious magnitude,  from  which  this  world  is 



B Ibietor^  of  IRevv  l^ork 

driven  by  a centrifugal  or  repelling  power,  and 
to  which  it  is  drawn  by  a centripetal  or  attrac- 
tive force  ; otherwise  called  the  attraction  of 
gravitation  ; the  combination,  or  rather  the 
counteraction  of  these  two  opposing  impulses 
producing  a circular  and  annual  revolution. 
Hence  result  the  different  .seasons  of  the  year, 
viz.  : spring,  summer,  autumn,  and  winter. 

This  I believe  to  be  the  most  approved  mod- 
ern theory  on  the  subject, — though  there  may  be 
many  philosophers  who  have  entertained  very 
different  opinions  ; some,  too,  of  them  entitled 
to  much  deference  from  their  great  antiquity 
and  illustrious  character.  Thus  it  was  ad- 
vanced by  some  of  the  ancient  sages,  that  the 
earth  was  an  extended  plane,  supported  by 
vast  pillars  ; and  by  others,  that  it  rested  on 
the  head  of  a snake,  or  the  back  of  a huge 
tortoise  ; — but  as  they  did  not  provide  a rest- 
ing-place for  either  the  pillars  or  the  tortoise, 
the  whole  theory  fell  to  the  ground,  for  want 
of  proper  foundation. 

The  Brahmins  assert  that  the  heavens  rest 
upon  the  earth,  and  the  sun  and  moon  swim 
therein  like  fi.shes  in  the  water,  moving  from 
east  to  west  by  day,  and  gliding  along  the 
edge  of  the  horizon  to  their  original  stations 
during  the  night  ; * while,  according  to  the 
* Faria  y Souza.  Mick.  Lus.,  note  b.  7. 




B Ibietor^  of  IRew  lock 

Pauranicas  of  India,  it  is  a vast  plain,  encircled 
by  seven  oceans  of  milk,  nectar,  and  other 
delicious  liquids  ; that  it  is  studded  with  seven 
mountains,  and  ornamented  in  the  centre  by  a 
mountainous  rock  of  burnished  gold  ; and  that 
a great  dragon  occasionally  swallows  up  the 
moon,  which  accounts  for  the  phenomena  of 
lunar  eclipses.* 

Beside  these,  and  many  other  equally  sage 
opinions,  we  have  the  profound  conjectures  of 
Aboul-Hassan-Aly,  son  of  A1  Khan,  son  of 
Aly,  son  of  Abderrahman,  .son  of  Abdallah, 
son  of  Masoud-el-Hadheli  who  is  commonly 
called  Masoudi,  and  surnamed  Cothbiddin, 
but  who  takes  the  humble  title  of  Laheb-ar- 
rasoul,  which  means  the  companion  of  the 
ambassador  of  God.  He  has  written  a univer- 
sal history,  entitled  Mouroudge-ed-dharab ^ or 
the  Golden  Meadows,  and  the  Mines  of  Precious 
Stones,  t In  this  valuable  work  he  has  re- 
lated the  history  of  the  world  from  the  creation 
down  to  the  moment  of  writing  ; which  was 
under  the  Khaliphat  of  Mothi  Billah,  in  the 
month  Dgioumadi-el-aoual  of  the  336th  3^ear 
of  the  Hegira  or  flight  of  the  Prophet.  He 
informs  us  that  the  earth  is  a huge  bird,  Mecca 

* Sir  W.  Jones,  Piss.  Antiq.  Ind.  Zod. 

t MSS.  Bibliot.  Roi  Fr. 



B Ibietors  of  IRew  lork 

tions.*  But  I give  little  attention  to  the  doc- 
trines of  this  philosopher,  the  people  of  Athens 
having  fully  refuted  them,  by  banishing  him 
from  their  city  : a concise  mode  of  answering 
unwelcome  doctrines,  much  resorted  to  in  for- 
mer days.  Another  sect  of  philosophers  do 
declare,  that  certain  fiery  particles  exhale  con- 
stantly from  the  earth,  which,  concentrating  in 
a single  point  of  the  firmament  by  day,  consti- 
tute the  sun,  but  being  scattered  and  rambling 
about  in  the  dark  at  night,  collect  in  various 
points,  and  form  stars.  These  are  regularly 
burnt  out  and  extinguished,  not  unlike  to  the 
lamps  in  our  streets,  and  require  a fresh  supply 
of  exhalations  for  the  next  occasion,  f 

It  is  even  recorded,  that  at  certain  remote 
and  obscure  periods,  in  consequence  of  a great 
scarcity  of  fuel,  the  sun  has  been  completely 
burnt  out,  and  sometimes  not  rekindled  for  a 
month  at  a time.  A most  melancholy  cir- 
cumstance, the  very  idea  of  which  gave  vast 
concern  to  Heraclitus,  that  worthy  weeping 
philosopher  of  antiquity.  In  addition  to  these 

* Diogenes  Laetius  in  Anaxag.,  lib.,  ii.,  sec.  8.  Plat., 
Apol.,  t.  i.,  p.  26.  Pint.,  De  Plac.  Phil.  Xenoph., 
Mem.y  lib.  iv.,  p.  815. 

t Aristot.,  Meteor.,  lib.  ii.,  cap.  2.  Idem,  Probl.,  sec. 
15,  Stob.,  Eel.  Phys.,  lib.  i.,  p.  55.  Brack.,  Hist. 
Phil.,  t.  i.,  p.  1154,  etc. 

profeseor  lt)on  ipoC>Dingcoft 


various  speculations,  it  was  the  opinion  of 
Herschel,  that  the  sun  is  a magnificent,  hab- 
itable abode ; the  light  it  furnishes  arising 
from  certain  empyreal,  luminous  or  phosphoric 
clouds,  swimming  in  its  transparent  atmos- 
phere. * 

But  we  will  not  enter  further  at  present  into 
the  nature  of  the  sun,  that  being  an  inquiry 
not  immediately  necessary  to  the  development 
of  this  history  ; neither  will  we  embroil  our- 
selves in  any  more  of  the  endless  disputes  of 
philosophers  touching  the  form  of  this  globe, 
but  content  ourselves  with  the  theory  advanced 
in  the  beginning  of  this  chapter,  and  will  pro- 
ceed to  illustrate,  by  experiment,  the  complex- 
ity of  motion  therein  ascribed  to  this  our 
rotatory  planet. 

Professor  Von  Poddingcoft  (or  Puddinghead, 
as  the  name  may  be  rendered  into  English) 
was  long  celebrated  in  the  university  of  Ley- 
den, for  profound  gravity  of  deportment,  and 
a talent  at  going  to  sleep  in  the  midst  of  exami- 
nations, to  the  infinite  relief  of  his  hopeful 
students,  who  thereby  worked  their  way 
through  college  with  great  ease  and  little  study. 
In  the  course  of  one  of  his  lectures,  the  learned 
professor,  seizing  a bucket  of  water,  swung  it 

* Philos.  Trans.,  1795,  p.  72.  Idem,  1801,  p.  265. 
Nich.,  Philos,  yourn.,  i.,  p.  13. 


B 1bl6tor^  of  1Rew  l^orl? 

around  his  head  at  arm’s  length.  The  impulse 
with  which  he  threw  the  vessel  from  him, 
being  a centrifugal  force,  the  retention  of  his 
arm  operating  as  a centripetal  powder,  and  the 
bucket,  which  was  a substitute  for  the  earth, 
describing  a circular  orbit  round  about  the 
globular  head  and  ruby  visage  of  Professor 
Von  Poddingcoft,  which  formed  no  bad  rep- 
resentation of  the  sun.  All  of  these  particulars 
were  duly  explained  to  the  class  of  gaping 
students  around  him.  He  apprised  them, 
moreover,  that  the  same  principle  of  gravita- 
tion, which  retained  the  water  in  the  bucket, 
restrains  the  ocean  from  flying  from  the  earth 
in  its  rapid  revolutions ; and  he  further  in- 
formed them  that  should  the  motion  of  the 
earth  be  suddenly  checked,  it  would  inconti- 
nently fall  into  the  sun,  through  the  centripetal 
force  of  gravitation, — a most  ruinous  event  to 
this  planet,  and  one  which  would  also  obscure, 
though  it  most  probably  would  not  extinguish, 
the  solar  luminary.  An  unlucky  stripling, 
one  of  those  vagrant  geniuses,  who  seem  sent 
into  the  world  merely  to  annoy  worthy  men  of 
the  puddinghead  order,  desirous  of  ascertaining 
the  correctness  of  the  experiment,  suddenly 
arrested  the*arm  of  the  professor,  just  at  the 
moment  that  the  bucket  was  in  its  zenith, 
which  immediately  descended  with  astonish- 

H practical  JEjpcriment 

ing  precision  upon  the  philosophic  head  of  the 
instructor  of  youth.  A hollow  sound,  and  a 
red-hot  hiss,  attended  the  contact ; but  the 
theory  was  in  the  amplest  manner  illustrated, 
for  the  unfortunate  bucket  perished  in  the  con- 
flict ; but  the  blazing  countenance  of  Professor 
Von  Poddingcoft  emerged  from  amidst  the 


waters,  glowing  fiercer  than  ever  with  unutter- 
able indignation,  whereby  the  students  were 
marvellously  edified,  and  departed  consider- 
ably wiser  than  before. 

It  is  a mortifying  circumstance,  which 
greatly  perplexes  many  a painstaking  philos- 
opher, that  nature  often  refuses  to  second  his 
most  profound  and  elaborate  efforts  ; so  that 


B 1bi6tori5  of  IRcw  l^ork 

after  having  invented  one  of  the  most  ingenious 
and  natural  theories  imaginable,  she  will  have 
the  perverseness  to  act  directly  in  the  teeth  of 
his  system,  and  flatly  contradict  his  most 
favorite  positions.  This  is  a manifest  and 
unmerited  grievance,  since  it  throws  the  cen- 
sure of  the  vulgar  and  unlearned  entirely  upon 
the  philosopher  ; whereas  the  fault  is  not  to  be 
ascribed  to  his  theory,  which  is  unquestionably 
correct,  but  the  waywardness  of  Dame  Nature, 
who,  with  the  proverbial  flckleness  of  her  sex, 
is  continually  indulging  in  coquetries  and 
caprices,  and  seems  really  to  take  pleasure  in 
violating  all  philosophic  rules,  and  jilting  the 
most  learned  and  indefatigable  of  her  adorers. 
Thus  it  happened  with  respect  to  the  foregoing 
satisfactory  explanation  of  the  motion  of  our 
planet ; it  appears  that  the  centrifugal  force  has 
long  since  ceased  to  operate,  while  its  antagonist 
remains  in  undiminished  potency  ; the  world, 
therefore,  according  to  the  theory  as  it  origin- 
ally stood,  ought  in  strict  propriety  to  tumble 
into  the  sun ; philosophers  were  convinced 
that  it  would  do  so,  and  awaited  in  anxious 
impatience  the  fulfilment  of  their  prognostics. 
But  the  untoward  planet  pertinaciously  con- 
tinued her  course,  notwithstanding  that  she  had 
reason,  philosophy,  and  a whole  university  of 
learned  professors  opposed  to  her  conduct. 


Zbc  of  tbe  movib 


The  philosophers  took  this  in  very  ill  part,  and 
it  is  thought  they  would  never  have  pardoned 
the  slight  and  affront  which  they  conceived 
put  upon  them  by  the  world,  had  not  a good- 
natured  professor  kindly  officiated  as  a mediator 
between  the  parties,  and  effected  a reconcilia- 

Finding  the  world  would  not  accommodate 
itself  to  the  theory,  he  wisely  determined  to 
accommodate  the  theory  to  the  world  ; he  there- 
fore informed  his  brother  philosophers,  that 
the  circular  motion  of  the  earth  round  the  sun 
was  no  sooner  engendered  by  the  conflicting 
impulses,  above  described,  than  it  became  a 
regular  revolution,  independent  of  the  causes 
which  gave  it  origin.  His  learned  brethren 
readily  joined  in  the  opinion,  being  heartily 
glad  of  any  explanation  that  would  decently 
extricate  them  from  their  embarrassment ; and 
ever  since  that  memorable  era  the  world  has 
been  left  to  take  her  own  course,  and  to  revolve 
around  the  sun  in  such  orbit  as  she  thinks 

Chapter  1I1F 


multitude  of  excellent  theories,  by  which 

SUCH  difficult  matter  AS  COMMON  FOLK  WOULD 

S’  AVING  thus  briefly  in- 
troduced my  reader  to 
the  world,  and  given 
him  some  idea  of  its 
form  and  situation,  he 
will  naturally  be  curious 
to  know  from  whence  it 
came,  and  how  it  was 
created.  And,  indeed, 
the  clearing  up  of  these 
points  is  absolutely  es- 
sential to  my  history,  inasmuch  as  if  this  world 
had  not  been  formed,  it  is  more  than  probable 
that  this  renowned  island,  on  which  is  situated 
the  city  of  New  York,  would  never  have  had 
an  existence.  The  regular  course  of  my  his- 
tory, therefore,  requires  that  I should  proceed 
to  notice  the  cosmogony  or  formation  of  this 
our  globe. 

Divers  ^Tbeories 


And  now  I give  my  readers  fair  warning 
that  I am  about  to  plunge,  for  a chapter  or 
two,  into  as  complete  a labyrinth  as  ever  his- 
torian was  perplexed  withal ; therefore,  I advise 
them  to  take  fast  hold  of  my  skirts,  and  keep 
close  at  my  heels,  venturing  neither  to  the 
right  hand  nor  to  the  left,  lest  they  get  bemired 
in  a slough  of  unintelligible  learning,  or  have 
their  brains  knocked  out  by  some  of  those  hard 
Greek  names  which  will  be  flying  about  in  all 
directions.  But  should  any  of  them  be  too 
indolent  or  chicken-hearted  to  accompany  me 
in  this  perilous  undertaking,  they  had  better 
take  a short  cut  round,  and  wait  for  me  at  the 
beginning  of  some  smoother  chapter. 

Of  the  creation  of  the  world,  we  have  a 
thousand  contradictory  accounts ; and  though 
a very  satisfactory  one  is  furnished  us  by 
divine  revelation,  yet  every  philosopher  feels 
himself  in  honor  bound  to  furnish  us  with  a 
better.  As  an  impartial  historian  I consider  it 
my  duty  to  notice  their  several  theories,  by 
which  mankind  have  been  so  exceedingly 
edified  and  instructed. 

Thus  it  was  the  opinion  of  certain  ancient 
sages,  that  the  earth  and  the  whole  system  of 
the  universe  was  the  Deit)^  himself ; * a doc- 
trine most  strenuously  maintained  by  Zeno- 
* Aristot.,  Ap.  Cic.y  lib.  i.,  cap.  3. 



21  1[3istor^  ot  IRew  lorh 

phanes  and  the  whole  tribe  of  Eleatics,  as  also 
by  Strabo  and  the  sect  of  peripatetic  philoso- 
phers. Pythagoras  likewise  inculcated  the 
famous  numerical  system  of  the  monad,  dyad, 
and  triad,  and  by  means  of  his  sacred  quater- 
nary elucidated  the  formation  of  the  world,  the 
arcana  of  nature,  and  the  principles  both  of 
music  and  morals.*  Other  sages  adhered  to 
the  mathematical  system  of  squares  and  tri- 
angles ; the  cube,  the  pyramid,  and  the  sphere  ; 
the  tetrahedron,  the  octahedron,  the  icosahe- 
dron, and  the  dodecahedron. f While  others 
advocated  the  great  elementary  theory  which 
refers  the  construction  of  our  globe  and  all 
that  it  contains  to  the  combinations  of  four 
material  elements  : air,  earth,  fire,  and  water, 
with  the  assistance  of  a fifth,  an  immaterial 
and  vivifying  principle. 

Nor  must  I omit  to  mention  the  great  atomic 
system  taught  by  old  Moschus,  before  the 
siege  of  Troy ; revived  by  Democritus  of 
laughing  memory  ; improved  by  Epicurus, 
that  king  of  good  fellows,  and  modernized  by 
the  fanciful  Descartes.  But  I decline  inquiring 
whether  the  atoms,  of  which  the  earth  is  said 

* Aristot.,  Meiaph.,  lib.  i.,  cap.  5.  Idem,  De  Coelo^ 
lib.  iii.,  cap  i.  Rousseau,  Mem.  sur  Musique  Ancien^ 
p.  39.  Plutarch,  De  Plac.  Phil.,  lib.  i.,  cap.  3. 

fTim,,  Locr.  ap.  Plato.,  t.  iii.,  p.  90. 


to  be  composed,  are  eternal  or  recent ; whether 
they  are  animate  or  inanimate  ; whether,  agree- 
ably to  the  opinion  of  the  atheists,  they  were 
fortuitously  aggregated,  or,  as  the  theists  main- 
tain, were  arranged  by  a vSUpreme  intelligence.* 
Whether,  in  fact,  the  earth  be  an  insensate 
clod,  or  whether  it  be  animated  by  a soul  ; t 
which  opinion  was  strenuously  maintained  by 
a host  of  philosophers,  at  the  head  of  whom 
stands  the  great  Plato,  that  temperate  sage, 
who  threw  the  cold  water  of  philosophy  on  the 
form  of  sexual  intercourse,  and  inculcated  the 
doctrine  of  Platonic  love, — an  exquisitely  re- 
fined intercourse,  but  much  better  adapted  to 
the  ideal  inhabitants  of  his  imaginary  island 
of  Atlantis  than  to  the  sturdy  race,  composed 
of  rebellious  flesh  and  blood,  which  populates 
the  little  matter-of-fact  island  we  inhabit. 

Beside  these  systems,  we  have,  moreover, 
the  poetical  theogony  of  old  Hesiod,  who  gen- 
erated the  whole  universe  in  the  regular  mode 
of  procreation,  and  the  plausible  opinion  of 
others,  that  the  earth  was  hatched  from  the 

* Aristot.,  Nat.  Auscult.,  lib.  ii.,  cap.  6.  Aristopb., 
Metaph.^  lib.  i.,  cap.  3.  Cic.,  De  Nat.  Dear.,  lib.  i., 
cap.  10.  Justin  Mart.,  Prat,  ad  Gent.,  p.  20. 

t Mosheim  in  Cudw.,  lib.  i.,  cap.  4.  Tim.,  De  Anim. 
Mund.  sp.  Plat.,  lib.  iii.  Mem.  de  PAcad.  des Belles- 
Lettr. , t.  xxxii.,  p.  19,  et  al. 

VOL.  I. — 4 



B 1bi6tors  of  IRevv  l^orh 

great  egg  of  night,  which  floated  in  chaos,  and 
was  cracked  by  the  horns  of  the  celestial  bull. 
To  illustrate  this  last  doctrine,  Burnet,  in  his 
theory  of  the  earth,*  has  favored  us  with  an 
accurate  drawing  and  description,  both  of 
the  form  and  texture  of  this  mundane  egg  ; 
which  is  found  to  bear  a marvellous  resem- 
blance to  that  of  a goose.  Such  of  my  readers 
as  take  a proper  interest  in  the  origin  of  this 
our  planet,  will  be  pleased  to  learn  that  the 
most  profound  sages  of  antiquity  among  the 
Egyptians,  Chaldeans,  Persians,  Greeks,  and 
Latins,  have  alternately  assisted  at  the  hatch- 
ing of  this  strange  bird,  and  that  their  cacklings 
have  been  caught,  and  continued  in  different 
tones  and  inflections,  from  philosopher  to 
philosopher,  unto  the  present  day. 

But  while  briefly  noticing  long  celebrated 
systems  of  ancient  sages,  let  me  not  pass  over 
with  neglect  those  of  other  philosophers ; 
which,  though  less  universal  and  renowned, 
have  equal  claims  to  attention,  and  equal 
chance  for  correctness.  Thus,  it  is  recorded 
by  the  Brahmins,  in  the  pages  of  their  inspired 
Shastah,  that  the  angel  Bistnoo,  transforming 
himself  into  a great  boar,  plunged  into  the 
watery  abyss,  and  brought  up  the  earth  on  his 
tusks.  Then  issued  from  him  a mighty  tor- 
* Book  i.,  ch.  5. 


2)ivcr0  ^Tbeories 

toise,  and  a mighty  snake  ; and  Bistnoo  placed 
the  snake  erect  upon  the  back  of  the  tortoise, 
and  he  placed  the  earth  upon  the  head  of  the 

The  negro  philosophers  of  Congo  affirm  that 
the  world  was  made  by  the  hands  of  angels, 
excepting  their  own  country,  which  the  Su- 
preme Being  constructed  himself,  that  it 
might  be  supremely  excellent.  And  he  took 
great  pains  with 
the  inhabitants, 
and  made  them 
black  and 


beautiful  ; and 
when  he  had  fin- 
ished the  first 
man,  he  was  well 
pleased  with  him, 
and  smoothed  him 
over  the  face,  and 
hence  his  nose, 
and  the  nose  of 
all  his  descend- 
ants, became  flat. 

The  Mohawk 
philosophers  tell 
us  that  a pregnant  woman  fell  down  from 
heaven,  and  that  a tortoise  took  her  upon  its 
* Hoi  well,  Gent.  Philosophy. 





B 1bi6tor^  of  IWcvv 

back,  because  every  place  was  covered  with 
water  ; and  that  the  woman,  sitting  upon  the 
tortoise,  paddled  with  her  hands  in  the  water, 
and  raked  up  the  earth,  whence  it  finally 
happened  that  the  earth  became  higher  than 
the  water.* 

But  I forbear  to  quote  a number  more  of 
these  ancient  and  outlandish  philosophers, 
whose  deplorable  ignorance,  in  despite  of  all 
their  erudition,  compelled  them  to  write  in 
languages  which  but  few  of  my  readers  can 
understand  ; and  I shall  proceed  briefly  to 
notice  a few  more  intelligible  and  fashionable 
theories  of  their  modern  successors. 

And  first  I shall  mention  the  great  Buffon, 
who  conjectures  that  this  globe  was  originally 
a globe  of  liquid  fire,  scintillated  from  the  body 
of  the  sun,  by  the  percussion  of  a comet,  as  a 
spark  is  generated  by  the  collision  of  flint 
and  steel.  That  at  first  it  was  surrounded 
by  gross  vapors,  which,  cooling  and  con- 
densing in  process  of  time,  constituted,  ac- 
cording to  their  densities,  earth,  water,  and 
air ; which  gradually  arranged  themselves, 
according  to  their  respective  gravities,  round 
the  burning  or  vitrified  mass  that  formed  their 

* Johannes  Megapolensis,  Jun. 
quaas  or  Mohawk  Indians. 

Account  of  Ma- 

Divers  theories 

Hutton,  on  the  contrary,  supposes  that  the 
waters  at  first  were  universally  paramount ; 
and  he  terrifies  himself  with  the  idea  that  the 
earth  must  be  eventually  washed  away  by  the 
force  of  rain,  rivers,  and  mountain  torrents, 
until  it  is  confounded  with  the  ocean,  or,  in 


other  words,  absolutely  dissolves  into  itself. 
Sublime  idea  ! far  surpassing  that  of  the  ten- 
der-hearted damsel  of  antiquity,  who  wept 
herself  into  a fountain ; or  the  good  dame  of 
Narbonne  in  France,  who,  for  a volubility  of 
tongue  unusual  in  her  sex,  was  doomed  to 



B Ibietor^  ot  1Fle\v  lork 

peel  five  hundred  thousand  and  thirty-nine 
ropes  of  onions,  and  actually  run  out  at  her 
eyes  before  half  the  hideous  task  was  accom- 

Whiston,  the  same  ingenious  philosopher 
who  rivalled  Ditton  in  his  researches  after  the 
longitude  (for  w^hich  the  mischief-loving  Swift 
discharged  on  their  heads  a most  savory 
stanza)  has  distinguished  himself  by  a very 
admirable  theory  respecting  the  earth.  He 
conjectures  that  it  was  originally  a chaotic 
co7net^  which  being  selected  for  the  abode  of 
man,  was  removed  from  its  eccentric  orbit,  and 
whirled  round  the  sun  in  its  present  regular 
motion  ; by  which  change  of  direction,  order 
succeeded  to  confusion  in  the  arrangement  of 
its  component  parts.  The  philosopher  adds, 
that  the  deluge  was  produced  by  an  uncour- 
teous  salute  from  the  wateiy^  tail  of  another 
comet ; doubtless  through  sheer  envy  of  its 
improved  condition  ; thus  furnishing  a melan- 
choly proof  that  jealousy  may  prevail,  even 
among  the  heavenly  bodies,  and  discord  in- 
terrupt that  celestial  harmony  of  the  spheres, 
so  melodiously  sung  by  the  poets. 

But  I pass  over  a variety  of  excellent  theo- 
ries, among  which  are  those  of  Burnet,  and 
Woodward,  and  Whitehurst ; regretting  ex- 
tremely that  my  time  will  not  suffer  me  to  give 


:)  0 

Divers  ^beories 


them  the  notice  they  deserve, — and  shall 
conclude  with  that  of  the  renowned  Dr. 
Darwin.  This  learned  Theban,  who  is  as 
much  distinguished  for  rhyme  as  reason,  and 
for  good-natured  credulity  as  serious  research, 
and  who  has  recommended  himself  wonder- 
fully to  the  good  graces  of  the  ladies,  by  let- 
ting them  into  all  the  gallantries,  amours, 
debaucheries,  and  'other  topics  of  scandal  of 
the  court  of  Flora,  has  fallen  upon  a theory 
worthy  of  his  combustible  imagination.  Ac- 
cording to  his  opinion,  the  huge  mass  of  chaos 
took  a sudden  occasion  to  explode,  like  a barrel 
of  gunpowder,  and  in  that  act  exploded  the 
sun, — which  in  its  flight,  by  a similar  convul- 
sion, exploded  the  earth,  which  in  like  guise 
exploded  the  moon, — and  thus  by  a concate- 
nation of  explosions,  the  whole  solar  system 
was  produced,  and  set  most  systematically  in 
motion  ! * 

By  the  great  variety  of  theories  here  alluded 
to,  every  one  of  which,  if  thoroughly  examined, 
will  be  found  surprisingly  consistent  in  all  its 
parts,  my  unlearned  readers  will  perhaps  be 
led  to  conclude,  that  the  creation  of  a world  is 
not  so  difficult  a task  as  they  at  first  imagined. 
I have  shown  at  least  a score  of  ingenious 
methods  in  which  a world  could  be  con- 
* Darw.,  Bot.  Garden^  Part  I.,  Cant,  i.,  i,  105. 


Bmusemente  of  pbilosopbcrs 

steeds,  are  as  wild  in  their  curvetings  as  was 
Phaeton  of  yore,  when  he  aspired  to  manage 
the  chariot  of  Phoebus.  One  drives  his  comet 


at  full  speed  against  the  sun,  and  knocks  the 
world  out  of  him  with  the  mighty  concussion  ; 
another,  more  moderate,  makes  his  comet  a 
kind  of  beast  of  burden,  carrying  the  sun  a 



B Ibietor^  of  IRew  l^orh 

regular  supply  of  food  and  fagots  ; a third,  of 
more  combustible  disposition,  threatens  to 
throw  his  comet,  like  a bomb-shell,  into  the 
world,  and  blow  it  up  like  a powder-magazine  ; 
while  a fourth,  with  no  great  delicacy  to  this 
planet  and  its  inhabitants,  insinuates  that  some 
day  or  other  his  comet — my  modest  pen  blushes 
while  I write  it — shall  absolutely  turn  tail  upon 
our  world,  and  deluge  it  with  water  ! Surely, 
as  I have  already  observed,  comets  were  bounti- 
fully provided  by  Providence  for  the  benefit  of 
philosophers,  to  assist  them  in  manufacturing 

And  now,  having  adduced  several  of  the 
most  prominent  theories  that  occur  to  my  rec- 
ollection, I leave  my  judicious  readers  at  full 
liberty  to  choose  among  them.  They  are  all 
serious  speculations  of  learned  men, — all  differ 
essentially  from  each  other, — and  all  have  the 
same  title  to  belief.  It  has  ever  been  the  task 
of  one  race  of  philosophers  to  demolish  the 
works  of  their  predecessors,  and  elevate  more 
splendid  fantasies  in  their  stead,  which  in 
their  turn  are  demolished  and  replaced  by 
the  air-castles  of  a succeeding  generation. 
Thus  it  would  seem  that  knowledge  and  ge- 
nius, of  which  we  make  such  great  parade,  con-  but  in  detecting  the  errors  and  absurdities 
of  those  who  have  gone  before,  and  devising 


Amusements  of  ipbilosopbers 


new  errors  and  absurdities,  to  be  detected  by 
those  who  are  to  come  after  us.  Theories  are 
the  mighty  soap-bubbles  with  which  the  grown- 
up children  of  science  amuse  themselves, — 
while  the  honest  vulgar  stand  gazing  in  stupid 
admiration,  and  dignify  these  learned  vagaries 
with  the  name  of  wisdom  ! Surely,  Socrates 
was  right  in  his  opinion,  that  philosophers  are 
but  a soberer  sort  of  madman,  busying  them- 
selves in  things  totally  incomprehensible,  or 
which,  if  they  could  be  comprehended,  would 
be  found  not  worthy  the  trouble  of  discovery. 

For  my  own  part,  until  the  learned  have 
come  to  an  agreement  among  themselves,  I 
shall  content  myself  with  the  account  handed 
down  to  us  by  Moses ; in  which  I do  but  fol- 
low the  example  of  our  ingenious  neighbors 
of  Connecticut ; who  at  their  first  settlement 
proclaimed,  that  the  colony  should  be  governed 
by  the  laws  of  God — until  they  had  time  to 
make  better. 

One  thing,  however,  appears  certain, — from 
the  unanimous  authority  of  the  before-quoted 
philosophers,  supported  by  the  evidence  of  our 
own  senses  (which,  though  very  apt  to  deceive 
us,  may  be  cautiously  admitted  as  additional 
testimony) — it  appears,  I say,  and  I make  the 
assertion  deliberately,  without  fear  of  contra- 
diction, that  this  globe  really  was  created,  and 

21  1bl0tor^  of  IRevv 

that  it  is  composed  of  land  a7id  water.  It  fur- 
ther appears  that  it  is  curiously  divided  and 
parcelled  out  into  continents  and  islands,  among 
which  I boldly  declare  the  renowned  Island  op 
New  York  will  be  found  by  any  one  who  seeks 
for  it  in  its  proper  place. 

Chapter  IFIFIf 


JN  OAH,  who  is  the 

first  seafaring 
man  we  read 
of,  begat  three 
sons:  Shem, 

phet.  Authors, 

m ^ not  wanting, 

^ ^ \ ' who  affirm  that 

\ the  patriarch 

had  a number  of  other  children.  Thus,  Bero- 
sus  makes  him  father  of  the  gigantic  Titans  ; 
Methodius  gives  him  a son  called  Jonithus,  or 
Jonicus  ; and  others  have  mentioned  a son, 
named  Thuiscon,  from  whom  descended  the 
Teutons  or  Teutonic,  or  in  other  words,  the 
Dutch  nation. 





B Ibistorg  of  IRew  l^orft 

I regret  exceedingly  that  the  nature  of 
plan  will  not  permit  me  to  gratify  the  laudable 
curiosity  of  my  readers,  by  investigating  min- 
utely the  history  of  the  great  Noah.  Indeed,  such 
an  undertaking  would  be  attended  with  more 
trouble  than  many  people  would  imagine,  for 
the  good  old  patriarch  seems  to  have  been  a great 
traveller  in  his  day,  and  to  have  passed  under  a 
different  name  in  every  country  that  he  visited. 
The  Chaldeans,  for  instance,  give  us  his  story, 
merely  altering  his  name  into  Xisuthrus, — a 
trivial  alteration,  which,  to  an  historian  skilled 
in  etymologies,  will  appear  wholly  unimportant. 
It  appears,  likewise,  that  he  had  exchanged 
his  tarpaulin  and  quadrant  among  the  Chal- 
deans for  the  gorgeous  insignia  of  royalty,  and 
appears  as  a monarch  in  their  annals.  The 
Egyptians  celebrate  him  under  the  name  of 
Osiris ; the  Indians  as  Menu  ; the  Greek  and 
Roman  writers  confound  him  with  Ogyges,  and 
the  Theban  with  Deucalion  and  Saturn.  But 
the  Chinese,  who  deservedly  rank  among  the 
most  extensive  and  authentic  historians,  inas- 
much as  they  have  known  the  world  much 
longer  than  any  one  else,  declare  that  Noah 
was  no  other  than  Fohi  ; and  what  gives  this 
assertion  some  air  of  credibility  is,  that  it  is  a 
fact,  admitted  by  the  most  enlightened  literati^ 
that  Noah  travelled  into  China,  at  the  time  of 




1Hoab’6  Sons 


the  building  of  the  tower  of  Babel  (probably  to 
improve  himself  in  the  study  of  languages), 
and  the  learned  Dr.  Shack  ford  gives  us  the 
additional  information,  that  the  ark  rested  on 
a mountain  on  the  frontiers  of  China. 


From  this  mass  of  rational  conjectures  and 
sage  hypotheses,  many  satisfactory  deductions 
might  be  drawn  ; but  I shall  content  myself 
with  the  simple  fact  stated  in  the  Bible,  viz.  : 
that  Noah  begat  three  sons,  Shem,  Ham,  andja- 
phet.  It  is  astonishing  on  what  remote  and  ob- 


B 1f3istori?  of  IRevv  ]ll)orh 

scure  contingencies  the  great  affairs  of  this  world 
depend,  and  how  events  the  most  distant,  and 
to  the  common  observer  unconnected,  are  in- 
evitably consequent  the  one  to  the  other.  It 
remains  to  the  philosopher  to  discover  these 
mysterious  affinities,  and  it  is  the  proudest 
triumph  of  his  skill,  to  detect  and  drag  forth 
some  latent  chain  of  causation  which  at  first 
sight  appears  a paradox  to  the  inexperienced 
observer.  Thus  many  of  my  readers  will 
doubtless  wonder  what  connection  the  family 
of  Noah  can  possibly  have  with  this  history, — 
and  man)"  will  stare  when  informed  that  the 
whole  history  of  this  quarter  of  the  world  has 
taken  its  character  and  course  from  the  simple 
circumstance  of  the  patriarch’s  having  but 
three  sons.  But  to  explain  : 

Noah,  we  are  told  by  sundry  very  credible 
historians,  becoming  sole  surviving  heir  and 
proprietor  of  the  earth,  in  fee-simple,  after  the 
deluge,  like  a good  father,  portioned  out  his 
estate  among  his  children.  To  Shem  he  gave 
Asia  ; to  Ham,  Africa  ; andto  Japhet,  Europe. 
Now  it  is  a thousand  times  to  be  lamented  that 
he  had  but  three  sons,  for  had  there  been  a 
fourth,  he  would  doubtless  have  inherited 
America  ; which,  of  course,  would  have  been 
dragged  forth  from  its  obscurity  on  the  occa- 
sion ; and  thus  many  a hard-working  historian 

and  philosopher  would  have  been  spared  a 
prodigious  mass  of  weary  conjecture  respecting 
the  first  discovery  and  population  of  this  coun- 
try. Noah,  however,  having  provided  for  his 
three  sons,  looked  in  all  probability  upon  our 
country  as  a mere  wild  unsettled  land,  and  said 
nothing  about  it ; and  to  this  unpardonable 
taciturnity  of  the  patriarch  may  we  ascribe 
the  misfortune  that  America  did  not  come 
into  the  world  as  early  as  the  other  quarters 
of  the  globe. 

It  is  true,  some  writers  have  vindicated  him 
from  this  misconduct  towards  posterity,  and 
asserted  that  he  really  did  discover  America. 
Thus  it  was  the  opinion  of  Mark  Lescarbot,  a 
French  writer,  possessed  of  that  ponderosity 
of  thought  and  profoundness  of  reflection  so 
peculiar  to  his  nation,  that  the  immediate  de- 
scendants of  Noah  peopled  this  quarter  of  the 
globe,  and  that  the  old  patriarch  himself,  who 
still  retained  a passion  for  the  seafaring  life, 
superintended  the  transmigration.  The  pious 
and  enlightened  father  Charlevoix,  a French 
Jesuit,  remarkable  for  his  aversion  to  the 
marvellous,  common  to  all  great  travellers,  is 
conclusively  of  the  same  opinion  ; nay,  he  goes 
still  farther,  and  decides  upon  the  manner  in 
which  the  discovery  was  effected,  which  was 
by  sea,  and  under  the  immediate  direction  of 

VOL.  I. — 5 






B ■ff3i6torB  of  1Re\v  l^orl; 

the  great  Noah.  “ I have  already  observ^ed,” 
exclaims  the  good  father,  in  a tone  of  becom- 
ing indignation,  “ that  it  is  an  arbitrary  sup- 
position that  the  grandchildren  of  Noah  were 
not  able  to  penetrate  into  the  new  world,  or 
that  they  never  thought  of  it.  In  effect,  I can 
see  no  reason  that  can  justify  such  a notion. 
Who  can  seriously  believe  that  Noah  and  his 
immediate  descendants  knew  less  than  we  do, 
and  that  the  builder  and  pilot  of  the  greatest 
ship  that  ever  was, — a ship  which  was  formed 
to  traverse  an  unbounded  ocean,  and  had  so 
many  shoals  and  quicksands  to  guard  against, 
— should  be  ignorant  of,  or  should  not  have 
communicated  to  his  descendants  the  art  of 
sailing  on  the  ocean  ? ’ ’ Therefore,  they  did 
sail  on  the  ocean  ; therefore,  they  sailed  to 
America  ; therefore,  America,  was  discovered 
by  Noah  ! 

Now  all  this  exquisite  chain  of  reasoning, 
which  is  so  strikingly  characteristic  of  the 
good  father,  being  addressed  to  the  faith,  rather 
than  the  understanding,  is  flatly  opposed  by 
Hans  de  Laet,  who  declares  it  a real  and  most 
ridiculous  paradox  to  suppose  that  Noah  ever 
entertained  the  thought  of  discovering  Amer- 
ica ; and  as  Hans  is  a Dutch  writer,  I am 
inclined  to  believe  he  must  have  been  much 
better  acquainted  with  the  worthy  crew  of  the 

vw  re 

Ibans  be  Uaet 

ark  than  his  competitors,  and  of  course  pos- 
sessed of  more  accurate  sources  of  information. 
It  is  astonishing  how  intimate  historians  do 
daily  become  with  the  patriarchs  and  other 
great  men  of  antiquity.  As  intimacy  improves 


with  time,  and  as  the  learned  are  particularly 
inquisitive  and  familiar  in  their  acquaintance 
with  the  ancients,  I should  not  be  surprised  if 
some  future  writers  should  gravely  give  us  a 
picture  of  men  and  manners  as  they  existed 
before  the  flood,  far  more  copious  and  accurate 

68  B Ibistor^  of  IRew  l^ork 

than  the  Bible  ; and  that  in  the  course  of  an- 
other century  the  log-book  of  the  good  Noah 
should  be  as  current  among  historians  as  the 
voyages  of  Captain  Cook,  or  the  renowned  his- 
tory of  Robinson  Crusoe. 

I shall  not  occupy  my  time  by  discussing  the 
huge  mass  of  additional  suppositions,  conjec- 
tures, and  probabilities  respecting  the  first  dis- 
covery of  this  countr}^,  with  which  unhappy 
historians  overload  themselves,  in  their  endeav- 
ors to  satisfy  the  doubts  of  an  incredulous 
world.  It  is  painful  to  see  these  laborious 
wights  panting,  and  toiling,  and  sweating, 
under  an  enormous  burden,  at  the  very  outset 
of  their  works,  which,  on  being  opened,  turns 
out  to  be  nothing  but  a mighty  bundle  of 
straw.  As,  however,  by  unwearied  assiduity, 
they  seem  to  have  established  the  fact,  to  the 
satisfaction  of  all  the  world,  that  this  country 
has  been  diseovered,  I shall  avail  myself  of 
their  useful  labors  to  be  extremely  brief  upon 
this  point. 

I shall  not,  therefore,  stop  to  inquire 
whether  America  was  first  discovered  by  a 
wandering  vessel  of  that  celebrated  Phoenician 
fleet,  which,  according  to  Herodotus,  circum- 
navigated Africa  ; or  by  that  Carthaginian  ex- 
pedition, which  Pliny  the  naturalist  informs 
us  discovered  the  Canary  Islands  ; or  whether 

Cbnstoval  Colon 


it  was  settled  by  a temporary  colony  from 
Tyre,  as  hinted  by  Aristotle  and  Seneca.  I 
shall  neither  inquire  whether  it  was  first  dis- 
covered by  the  Chinese,  as  Vossius  with  great 
shrewdness  advances  ; nor  by  the  Norwegians 
in  1002,  under  Biorn  ; nor  by  Behem,  the  Ger- 
man navigator,  as  Mr.  Otto  has  endeavored  to 
prove  to  the  savans  of  the  learned  city  of  Phil- 

Nor  shall  I investigate  the  more  modern 
claims  of  the  Welsh,  founded  on  the  voyage  of 
Prince  Madoc  in  the  eleventh  century,  who 
having  never  returned,  it  has  since  been  wisely 
concluded  that  he  must  have  gone  to  America, 
and  that  for  a plain  reason, — if  he  did  not  go 
there,  where  else  could  he  have  gone  ? — a ques- 
tion which  most  socratically  shuts  out  all  fur- 
ther dispute. 

Laying  aside,  therefore,  all  the  conjectures 
above  mentioned,  with  a multitude  of  others, 
equally  satisfactory,  I shall  take  for  granted 
the  vulgar  opinion,  that  America  was  discov- 
ered on  the  12th  of  October,  1492,  by  Chris- 
to val  Colon,  a Genoese,  who  has  been  clumsily 
nicknamed  Columbus,  but  for  what  reason  I 
cannot  discern.  Of  the  voyages  and  adven- 
tures of  this  Colon,  I shall  say  nothing,  seeing 
that  they  are  already  sufficiently  known.  Nor 
shall  I undertake  to  prove  that  this  country 

B Ibietor^  ot  IKlew  l^orft 

should  have  been  called  Colonia,  after  his 
name,  that  being  notoriously  self-evident. 

Having  thus  happily  got  my  readers  on  this 
side  of  the  Atlantic,  I picture  them  to  myself 
all  impatience  to  enter  upon  the  enjoyment  of 
the  land  of  promise,  and  in  full  expectation 


that  I will  immediately  deliver  it  into  their 
possession.  But  if  I do  may  I ever  forfeit  the 
reputation  of  a regular-bred  historian  ! No — 
no, — most  curious  and  thrice  learned  readers 
( for  thrice  learned  ye  are  if  ye  have  read  all 
that  has  gone  before,  and  nine  times  learned 

trolls  of  Carl^  Discoverers 

shall  ye  be  if  ye  read  that  which  comes  after), 
we  have  yet  a world  of  work  before  us.  Think 
you  the  first  discoverers  of  this  fair  quarter  of 
the  globe  had  nothing  to  do  but  go  on  shore 
and  find  a country  ready  laid  out  and  culti- 
vated like  a garden,  wherein  they  might 
revel  at  their  ease?  No  such  thing;  they 
had  forests  to  cut  down,  underwood  to  grub 
up,  marshes  to  drain,  and  savages  to  exter- 

In  like  manner,  I have  sundry  doubts  to 
clear  away,  questions  to  resolve,  and  paradoxes 
to  explain,  before  I permit  you  to  range  at 
random  ; but  these  difficulties  once  overcome, 
we  shall  be  enabled  to  jog  on  right  merrily 
through  the  rest  of  our  history.  Thus  my 
work  shall,  in  a manner,  echo  the  nature  of 
the  subject,  in  the  same  manner  as  the  sound 
of  poetry  has  been  found  by  certain  shrewd 
critics  to  echo  the  sense, — this  being  an  im- 
provement in  history  which  I claim  the  merit 
of  having  invented. 

Chapter  W, 


next  inquiry  at  which 
1 we  arrive  in  the  regular 
I course  of  our  history  is 
to  ascertain,  if  possible, 
how  this  country 


originally  peopled,  — a 
' point  fruitful  of  incredi- 

ble  embarrassments ; for 
unless  we  prove  that  the 
^ ^ Aborigines  did  absolutely  come 
from  somewhere,  it  will  be 
immediately  asserted,  in  this 
age  of  skepticism,  that  they  did  not  come  at 
all ; and  if  they  did  not  come  at  all,  then  was 
this  country  never  populated, — a conclusion 
perfectly  agreeable  to  the  rules  of  logic, 
but  wholly  irreconcilable  to  every  feeling  of 
humanity,  inasmuch  as  it  must  syllogisti- 

ZTbe  ipoct  /Iftacrobious 


cally  prove  fatal  to  the  innumerable 
rigines  of  this  populous  region. 

To  avert  so  dire  a sophism,  and  to  rescue 
from  logical  annihilation  so  many  millions  of 
fellow-creatures,  how  many  wings  of  geese 
have  been  plundered  ! what  oceans  of  ink 
have  been  benevolently  drained ! and  how 
many  capacious  heads  of  learned  historians 
have  been  addled,  and  forever  confounded  ! 
I pause  with  reverential  awe,  when  I contem- 
plate the  ponderous  tomes,  in  different  lan- 
guages, with  which  they  have  endeavored  to 
solve  this  question,  so  important  to  the  happi- 
ness of  society,  but  so  involved  in  clouds  of 
impenetrable  obscurity. 

Historian  after  historian  has  engaged  in  the 
endless  circle  of  hypothetical  argument,  and 
after  leading  us  a weary  chase  through  octavos, 
quartos,  and  folios,  has  let  us  out  at  the  end 
of  his  work  just  as  wise  as  we  were  at  the 
beginning.  It  was  doubtless  some  philosophi- 
cal wild-goose  chase  of  the  kind  that  made 
the  old  poet  Macrobius  rail  in  such  a passion  at 
curiosity,  which  he  anathematizes  most  heartily 
as  ‘ ‘ an  irksome  agonizing  care,  a superstitious 
industry  about  unprofitable  things,  an  itching 
humor  to  see  what  is  not  to  be  seen,  and  to  be 
doing  what  signifies  nothing  when  it  is  done.” 
But  to  proceed. 


B Ibistoris  of  IRcw 

Of  the  claims  of  the  children  of  Noah  to  the 
original  population  of  this  country  I shall  say 
nothing,  as  they  have  already  been  touched 
upon  in  my  last  chapter.  The  claimants  next 
in  celebrity  are  the  descendants  of  Abraham. 
Thus,  Christoval  Colon  (vulgarly  called  Colum- 
bus) when  he  first  discovered  the  gold  mines 
of  Hispaniola,  immediately  concluded,  wdth  a 
shrewdness  that  would  have  done  honor  to 
a philosopher,  that  he  had  found  the  ancient 
Ophir,  from  whence  Solomon  procured  the 
gold  for  embellishing  the  temple  at  Jerusalem  ; 
nay.  Colon  even  imagined  that  he  saw  the 
remains  of  furnaces  of  veritable  Hebraic  con- 
struction, employed  in  refining  the  precious 

So  golden  a conjecture,  tinctured  with  such 
fascinating  extravagance,  was  too  tempting  not 
to  be  immediately  snapped  at  by  the  gudgeons 
of  learning  ; and,  accordingly,  there  were  di- 
vers profound  writers  ready  to  swear  to  its  cor- 
rectness, and  to  bring  in  their  usual  load  of 
authorities,  and  wise  surmises,  wherewithal  to 
prop  it  up.  Vetablus  and  Robertus  Stephens 
declared  nothing  could  be  more  clear  ; Arius 
Montanus,  without  the  least  hesitation,  asserts 
that  Mexico  was  the  true  Ophir,  and  the  Jews 
the  early  settlers  of  the  country  ; while  Posse- 
vin,  Becan,  and  several  other  .sagacious  writ- 


Conflicting  tTbeorlee 


ers,  lug  in  a supposed  prophecy  of  the  fourth 
book  of  Esdras,  which  being  inserted  in  the 
mighty  hypothesis,  like  the  key-stone  of  an 
arch,  gives  it,  in  their  opinion,  perpetual  dura- 

Scarce,  however,  have  they  completed  their 
goodly  superstructure,  than  in  trudges  a pha- 
lanx of  opposite  authors,  with  Hans  de  Eaet, 
the  great  Dutchman,  at  their  head,  and  at  one 
blow  tumbles  the  whole  fabric  about  their  ears. 
Hans,  in  fact,  contradicts  outright  all  the  Is- 
raelitish  claims  to  the  first  settlement  of  this 
country,  attributing  all  those  equivocal  symp- 
toms, and  traces  of  Christianity  and  Judaism, 
which  have  been  said  to  be  found  in  divers  prov- 
inces of  the  new  world,  to  the  Devil^  who  has  al- 
ways affected  to  counterfeit  the  worship  of  the 
true  Deity.  ‘ ‘ A remark,  ’ ’ says  the  knowing  old 
Padre  d’ Acosta,  ‘ ‘ made  by  all  good  authors  who 
have  spoken  of  the  religion  of  nations  newly 
discovered,  and  founded  besides  on  the  authority 
of  the  fathers  of  the  church y Some  writers, 
again,  among  whom  it  is  with  much  regret  I am 
compelled  to  mention  Lopez  de  Gomara,  and 
Juan  de  Leri,  insinuate  that  the  Canaanites, 
being  driven  from  the  land  of  promise  by  the 
Jews,  were  seized  with  such  a panic  that  they 
fled  without  looking  behind  them,  until,  stop- 
ping to  take  breath,  they  found  themselves  safe 

76  B Ibistorg  of  IRew  Icrk 

in  America.  As  they  brought  neither  their 
national  language,  manners,  nor  features  with 
them,  it  is  supposed  they  left  them  behind  in 
the  hurry  of  their  flight ; — I cannot  give  my 
faith  to  this  opinion. 

I pass  over  the  supposition  of  the  learned 
Grotius, — who  being  both  an  ambassador  and 
a Dutchman  to  boot,  is  entitled  to  great  respect, 
— that  North  America  was  peopled  by  a stroll- 
ing company  of  Norwegians,  and  that  Peru 
was  founded  by  a colony  from  China, — Manco, 
or  Mango  Capac,  the  first  Incas,  being  himself 
a Chinese.  Nor  shall  I more  than  barely  men- 
tion, that  father  Kircher  ascribes  the  settle- 
ment of  America  to  the  Egyptians,  Rudbeck 
to  the  Scandinavians,  Charron  to  the  Gauls, 
Juffredus  Petri  to  a skating  party  from  Fries- 
land, Milius  to  the  Celtae,  Marinocus  the  Sicilian 
to  the  Romans,  Ee  Compte  to  the  Phoenicians, 
Postel  to  the  Moors,  Martyn  d’Angleria  to  the 
Abyssinians,  together  with  the  sage  surmise 
of  De  Eaet,  that  England,  Ireland,  and  the 
Orcades  may  contend  for  that  honor. 

Nor  will  I bestow  any  more  attention  or 
credit  to  the  idea  that  America  is  the  fairy  re- 
gion of  Zipangri,  described  by  that  dreaming 
traveller,  Marco  Polo,  the  Venetian  ; or  that  it 
comprises  the  visionary  island  of  Atlantis,  de- 
scribed by  Plato.  Neither  will  I stop  to  inves- 


B Ibistorg  of  IRcw  l^orft 

tigate  the  heathenish  assertion  of  Paracelsus, 
that  each  hemisphere  of  the  globe  was  origin- 
ally furnished  with  an  Adam  and  Eve  ; or  the 
more  flattering  opinion  of  Dr.  Romayne,  sup- 
ported by  many  nameless  authorities,  that 
Adam  was  of  the  Indian  race  ; or  the  startling 
conjecture  of  Buffon,  Helvetius,  and  Darwin, 
so  highly  honorable  to  mankind,  that  the  whole 
human  species  is  accidentally  descended  from  a 
remarkable  family  of  monkeys  ! 

This  last  conjecture,  I must  own,  came  upon 
me  very  suddenly  and  very  ungraciously.  I 
have  often  beheld  the  clown  in  a pantomime, 
while  gazing  in  stupid  wonder  at  the  extrava- 
gant gambols  of  a harlequin,  all  at  once  electri- 
fied by  a sudden  stroke  of  the  wooden  sword 
across  his  shoulders.  Little  did  I think,  at 
such  times,  that  it  would  ever  fall  to  my  lot  to 
be  treated  with  equal  discourtesy,  and  that, 
while  I was  quietly  beholding  these  grave  phi- 
losophers, emulating  the  eccentric  transforma- 
tions of  the  hero  of  pantomime,  they  would  on 
a sudden  turn  upon  me  and  my  readers,  and 
with  one  hypothetical  flourish  metamorphose 
us  into  beasts  ! I determined  from  that  mo- 
ment not  to  burn  my  fingers  with  any  more  of 
their  theories,  but  content  myself  with  detail- 
ing the  different  methods  by  which  they  trans- 
ported the  descendants  of  these  ancient  and 

Conflicting  tTbcories 

respectable  monkeys  to  this  great  field  of 
theoretical  warfare. 

This  was  done  either  by  migrations  by  land 
or  transmigrations  by  water.  Thus  Padre 
Joseph  d’ Acosta  enumerates  three  passages 
by  land  ; first,  by  the  north  of  Europe ; 
secondly,  by  the  north  of  Asia ; and  thirdly, 
by  the  regions  southward  of  the  Straits  of 
Magellan.  The  learned  Grotius  marches  his 
Norwegians  by  a pleasant  route  across  frozen 
rivers  and  arms  of  the  sea,  through  Iceland, 
Greenland,  Estotiland,  and  Naremberga  ; and 
various  writers,  among  whom  are  Angleria,  De 
Hornn,  and  Buffon,  anxious  for  the  accommo- 
dation of  these  travellers,  have  fastened  the  two 
continents  together  by  a strong  chain  of  deduc- 
tions,— by  which  means  they  could  pass  over 
dry-shod.  But  should  even  this  fail,  Pinkerton, 
that  industrious  old  gentleman,  who  compiles 
books,  and  manufactures  Geographies,  has 
constructed  a natural  bridge  of  ice,  from  con- 
tinent, to  continent,  at  the  distance  of  four  or 
five  miles  from  Behring’s  Straits, — for  which 
he  is  entitled  to  the  grateful  thanks  of  all  the 
wandering  Aborigines  who  ever  did  or  ever 
will  pass  over  it. 

It  is  an  evil  much  to  be  lamented,  that  none 
of  the  worthy  writers  above  quoted  could  ever 
commence  his  work  without  immediately  declar- 


V /■■ 


B Ibistor^  ot  IRew  l^orh 

ing  hostilities  against  every  writer  who  had 
treated  of  the  same  subject.  In  this  particu- 
lar, authors  may  be  compared  to  a certain 
sagacious  bird,  which  in  building  its  nest  is 
sure  to  pull  to  pieces  the  nests  of  all  the  birds 
in  its  neighborhood.  This  unhappy  propensity 
tends  grievously  to  impede  the  progress  of 
sound  knowledge.  Theories  are  at  best  but 
brittle  productions,  and  when  once  committed 
to  the  stream,  they  should  take  care  that,  like 
the  notable  pots  which  were  fellow-voyagers, 
they  do  not  crack  each  other. 

My  chief  surprise  is,  that  among  the  many 
writers  I have  noticed,  no  one  has  attempted 
to  prove  that  this  country  was  peopled  from 
the  moon, — or  that  the  first  inhabitants  floated 
hither  on  islands  of  ice,  as  white  bears  cruise 
about  the  northern  oceans, — or  that  they  were 
conveyed  hither  by  balloons,  as  modern  aero- 
nauts pass  from  Dover  to  Calais, — or  by  witch- 
craft, as  Simon  Magus  posted  among  the  stars, 
— or  after  the  manner  of  the  renowned  Scythian 
Abaris,  who,  like  the  New  England  witches 
on  full-blooded  broomsticks,  made  most  un- 
heard of  journeys  on  the  back  of  a golden 
arrow,  given  him  by  the  Hyperborean  Apollo. 

But  there  is  still  one  more  mode  left  by 
which  this  country  could  have  been  peopled, 
which  I have  reserved  for  the  last,  because  I 


B of  IRevv 

ment  in  s^^llogistic  skill,  and  proves  the  good 
father  superior  even  to  Archimedes,  for  he  can 
turn  the  world  without  anything  to  rest  his 
lever  upon.  It  is  only  surpassed  by  the  dex- 
terity with  which  the  sturdy  old  Jesuit,  in 
another  place,  cuts  the  gordian  knot : — “ Noth- 
ing,” sa3^s  he,  ” is  more  easy.  The  inhabitants 
of  both  hemispheres  are  certainly  the  descend- 
ants of  the  same  father.  The  common  father 
of  mankind  received  an  express  order  from 
Heaven  to  people  the  world,  and  accordingly  it 
has  been  peopled.  To  bring  this  about  it  was 
necessary  to  overcome  all  difficulties  in  the 
way,  and  they  have  also  bee7i  ove^xonie ! 
Pious  logician  ! How  does  he  put  all  the  herd 
of  laborious  theorists  to  the  blush,  by  explain- 
ing, in  five  words,  what  it  has  cost  them 
volumes  to  prove  they  knew  nothing  about  ! 

From  all  the  authorities  here  quoted,  and  a 
variety  of  others  which  I have  consulted,  but 
which  are  omitted  through  fear  of  fatiguing 
the  unlearned  reader,  I can  only  draw  the  fol- 
lowing conclusions,  which  luckiljq  however, 
are  sufficient  for  my  purpose.  First,  that  this 
part  of  the  world  has  actually  been  peopled^ 
(Q.  K.  D.)  to  support  which  we  have  living 
proofs  in  the  numerous  tribes  of  Indians  that 
inhabit  it.  Secondly,  that  it  has  been  peopled 
in  five  hundred  different  ways,  as  proved  by  a 


^be  (Sluestion  ^Finalls  SettlcD 

cloud  of  authors  who,  from  the  positiveness  of 
their  assertions,  seem  to  have  been  eye-wit- 
nesses to  the  fact.  Thirdly,  that  the  people 
of  this  country  had  a variety  of  fathers,  which, 
as  it  may  not  be  thought  much  to  their  credit 
by  the  common  run  of  readers,  the  less  we  say 
on  the  subject  the  better.  The  question,  there- 
fore, I trust,  is  forever  at  rest. 

Chapter  D. 


I HK  writer  of  a history 

m,-  some  re- 

' spects,  be  likened 

ill  unto  an  adventur- 

ous  knight,  who, 
M having  undertaken 

^ perilous  enterprise 
"by  '^^y  establish- 
\\\  y fame,  feels 

bound,  in  honor 
W f’W9ir^  and  chivalry,  to 

turn  back  for  no 
difficulty  nor  hard- 
never  to 
shrink  or  quail, 
whatever  enemy  he 
may  encounter.  Under  this  impression,  I 

resolutely  draw  my  pen,  and  fall  to,  with  might 

Zbc  IRic^bt  of  Discovers 

and  main,  at  those  doughty  questions  and 
subtle  paradoxes,  which,  like  fiery  dragons  and 
bloody  giants,  beset  the  entrance  to  my  history, 
and  would  fain  repulse  me  from  the  very  thresh- 
old. And  at  this  moment  a gigantic  question 
has  started  up,  which  I must  needs  take  by  the 
beard  and  utterly  subdue,  before  I can  advance 
another  step  in  my  historic  undertaking  ; but  I 
trust  this  will  be  the  last  adversary  I shall  have 
to  contend  with,  and  that  in  the  next  book  I 
shall  be  enabled  to  conduct  my  readers  in  tri- 
umph into  the  body  of  my  work. 

The  question  which  has  thus  suddenly  arisen 
is.  What  right  had  the  first  discoverers  of 
America  to  land  and  take  possession  of  a coun- 
try, without  first  gaining  the  consent  of  its 
inhabitants,  or  yielding  them  an  adequate 
compensation  for  their  territory  ? — a question 
which  has  withstood  many  fierce  assaults,  and 
has  given  much  distress  of  mind  to  multitudes 
of  kind-hearted  folk.  And  indeed,  until  it  be 
totally  vanquished,  and  put  to  rest,  the  worthy 
people  of  America  can  by  no  means  enjoy  the 
soil  they  inhabit,  with  clear  right  and  title,  and 
quiet,  unsullied  consciences. 

The  first  source  of  right,  by  which  property 
is  acquired  in  a country,  is  discovery.  For 
as  all  mankind  have  an  equal  right  to  anything 
which  has  never  before  been  appropriated,  so 



B Ibistor^  of  Iftevv  lork 

any  nation  that  discovers  an  uninhabited  coun- 
try, and  takes  possession  thereof,  is  considered 
as  enjoying  full  property,  and  absolute,  unques- 
tionable empire  therein.* 

This  proposition  being  admitted,  it  follows 
clearly,  that  th^  Europeans  who  first  visited 
America  were  the  real  discoverers  of  the  same  ; 
nothing  being  necessary  to  the  establishment 
of  this  fact,  but  simply  to  prove  that  it  was 
totally  uninhabited  by  men.  This  would  at 
first  appear  to  be  a point  of  some  di^culty,  for 
it  is  well  known  that  this  quarter  of  the  world 
abounded  with  certain  animals,  that  walked 
erect  on  two  feet,  had  something  of  a human 
countenance,  uttering  certain  unintelligible 
sounds,  very  much  like  language  ; in  short, 
had  a marvellous  resemblance  to  human  beings. 
But  the  zealous  and  enlightened  fathers,  who 
accompanied  the  discoverers,  for  the  purpose 
of  promoting  the  kingdom  of  heaven  by  estab- 
lishing fat  monasteries  and  bishoprics  on  earth, 
soon  cleared  up  this  point,  greatl}"  to  the  satis- 
faction of  his  holiness  the  pope,  and  of  all 
Christian  voyagers  and  discoverers. 

They  plainly  proved,  *and  as  no  Indian 
writers  arose  on  the  other  side,  the  fact  was 
considered  as  fully  admitted  and  established, 

* Grotius.  Puffendorff,  b.  v.,  cap.  4.  Vattel,  b.  i., 
cap.  18,  etc. 



^Tbc  Bborigines 

that  the  two-legged  race  of  animals  before 
mentioned  were  mere  cannibals,  detestable 
monsters,  and  many  of  them  giants, — which 
last  description  of  vagrants  have,  since  the 
time  of  Gog,  Magog,  and  Goliath,  been  consid- 
ered as  outlaws,  and  have  received  no  quarter 
in  either  historjq  chivalry,  or  song.  Indeed, 
even  the  philosophic  Bacon  declared  the  Ameri- 
cans to  be  people  proscribed  by  the  laws  of 
nature,  inasmuch  as  they  had  a barbarous 
custom  of  sacrificing  men,  and  feeding  upon 
man’s  flesh. 

Nor  are  these  all  the  proofs  of  their  utter 
barbarism.  Among  many  other  writers  of 
discernment,  Ulloa  tells  us  ‘ ‘ their  imbecility  is 
so  visible,  that  one  can  hardly  form  an  idea  of 
them  different  from  what  one  has  of  the  brutes. 
Nothing  disturbs  the  tranquillity  of  their  souls, 
equally  insensible  to  disasters  and  to  prosper- 
ity. Though  half  naked,  they  are  as  contented 
as  a monarch  in  his  most  splendid  array.  Fear 
makes  no  impression  on  them,  and  respect  as 
little.  ’ ’ All  this  is  furthermore  supported  by 
the  authority  of  M.  Bouguer.  “It  is  not 
easy,”  says  he,  “ to  describe  the  degree  of  their 
indifference  for  wealth  and  all  its  advantages. 
One  does  not  well  know  what  motives  to  pro- 
pose to  them  when  one  would  persuade  them 
to  any  service.  It  is  vain  to  offer  them  money  ; 

88  B 1b(0tor^  of  1Rew  HJorh 

they  answer  they  are  not  hungry.”  And 
Vanegas  confirms  the  whole,  assuring  us  that 
‘ ‘ ambition  they  have  none,  and  are  more  de- 
sirous of  being  thought  strong  than  valiant. 
The  objects  of  ambition  with  us — honor,  fame, 
reputation,  riches,  posts,  and  distinctions — 
are  unknown  among  them.  So  that  this  pow- 
erful spring  of  action,  the  cause  of  so  much 
seeming  good  and  real  evil  in  the  world,  has  no 
power  over  them.  In  a word,  these  unhappy 
mortals  may  be  compared  to  children  in  whom 
the  development  of  reason  is  not  completed.” 

Now  all  these  peculiarities,  although  in  the 
most  unenlightened  states  of  Greece  they 
would  have  entitled  their  possessors  to  im- 
mortal honor,  as  having  reduced  to  practice 
those  rigid  and  abstemious  maxims,  the  mere 
talking  about  which  acquired  certain  old 
Greeks  the  reputation  of  sages  and  philoso- 
phers,— yet,  were  they  clearly  proved  in  the 
present  instance  to  betoken  a most  abject  and 
brutified  nature,  totally  beneath  the  human 
character.  But  the  benevolent  fathers,  who 
had  undertaken  to  turn  these  unhappy  sav- 
ages into  dumb  beasts,  by  dint  of  argument, 
advanced  still  stronger  proofs  ; for,  as  certain 
divines  of  the  sixteenth  century,  and  among 
the  rest  Lullus,  affirm, — the  Americans  go 
naked,  and  have  no  beards  ! ‘ ‘ They  have 


^Tbe  Bborigtnes 

nothing,  ’ ’ says  Lulliis,  ‘ ‘ of  the  reasonable  ani- 
mal, except  the  mask.”  And  even  that  mask 
was  allowed  to  avail  them  but  little,  for  it  was 
soon  found  that  they  were  of  a hideous  copper 
complexion  : and  being  of  a copper  complex- 


ion,  it  was  all  the  same  as  if  they  were  negroes  : 
and  negroes  are  black, — ” and  black,”  said  the 
pious  fathers,  devoutly  crossing  themselves, 
“is  the  color  of  the  Devil!”  Therefore,  so 
far  from  being  able  to  own  property,  they  had 
no  right  even  to  personal  freedom  ; for  liberty 



B 1bi6tor^  of  1Rew  ^ov\\ 

is  too  radiant  a deity  to  inhabit  such  gloomy 
temples.  All  which  circumstances  plainly 
convinced  the  righteous  followers  of  Cortes 
and  Pizarro,  that  these  miscreants  had  no  title 
to  the  soil  that  they  infested, — that  they  were 
a perverse,  illiterate,  dumb,  beardless,  black- 
seed, — mere  wild  beasts  of  the  forests,  and  like 
them  should  either  be  subdued  or  exterminated. 

From  the  foregoing  arguments,  therefore, 
and  a variety  of  others  equally  conclusive, 
which  I forbear  to  enumerate,  it  is  clearly 
evident  that  this  fair  quarter  of  the  globe, 
when  first  visited  by  Europeans,  was  a howl- 
ing wilderness,  inhabited  by  nothing  but  wild 
beasts  ; and  that  the  transatlantic  visitors  ac- 
quired an  incontrovertible  property  therein  by 
the  right  of  discovery. 

This  right  being  fully  established,  we  now 
come  to  the  next,  which  is  the  right  acquired 
by  cultivatio7i . “The  cultivation  of  the  soil,” 
we  are  told,  “is  an  obligation  imposed  by 
nature  on  mankind.  The  whole  world  is  ap- 
pointed for  the  nourishment  of  its  inhabitants  ; 
but  it  would  be  incapable  of  doing  it,  was  it 
uncultivated.  Every  nation  is  then  obliged 
by  the  law  of  nature  to  cultivate  the  ground 
that  has  fallen  to  its  share.  Those  people, 
like  the  ancient  Germans  and  modern  Tartars, 
who,  having  fertile  countries,  disdain  to  culti- 


^be  IRigbt  ot  Cultivation 


vate  the  earth,  and  choose  to  live  by  rapine, 
are  wanting  to  themselves,  and  deserve  to  be 
exterminated  as  savage  and  pernicious  beasts. 

Now  it  is  notorious  that  the  savages  knew 
nothing  of  agriculture,  when  first  discovered 
by  the  Europeans,  but  lived  a most  vagabond, 
disorderly,  unrighteous  life, — rambling  from 
place  to  place,  and  prodigally  rioting  upon  the 
spontaneous  luxuries  of  nature,  without  task- 
ing her  generosity  to  yield  them  anything 
more  ; whereas  it  has  been  most  unquestion- 
ably shown,  that  Heaven  intended  the  earth 
should  be  ploughed  and  sown,  and  manured, 
and  laid  out  into  cities,  and  towns,  and  farms, 
and  country-seats,  and  pleasure-grounds,  and 
public  gardens  ; all  which  the  Indians  knew 
nothing  about : therefore,  they  did  not  im- 
prove the  talents  Providence  had  bestowed  on 
them  : therefore,  they  were  careless  stewards  : 
therefore,  they  had  no  right  to  the  soil : there- 
fore, they  deserved  to  be  exterminated. 

It  is  true,  the  savages  might  plead  that  they 
drew  all  the  benefits  from  the  land  which  their 
simple  wants  required, — they  found  plenty  of 
game  to  hunt,  which,  together  with  the  roots 
and  uncultivated  fruits  of  the  earth,  furnished 
a sufficient  variety  for  their  frugal  repasts, — 
and  that,  as  Heaven  merely  designed  the  earth 
* Vattel,  b.  i,,  ch.  17. 


92  B Ibistor^  of  IRevv  l^orf? 

to  form  the  abode,  and  satisfy  the  wants  of 
man,  so  long  as  those  purposes  were  answered, 
the  will  of  Heaven  was  accomplished.  But 
this  only  proves  how  undeserving  they  were 
of  the  blessings  around  them  : they  were  so 
much  the  more  savages,  for  not  having  more 
wants ; for  knowledge  is  in  some  degree  an 
increase  of  desires  ; and  it  is  this  superiority 
both  in  the  number  and  magnitude  of  his 
desires,  that  distinguishes  the  man  from  the 
beast.  Therefore  the  Indians,  in  not  having 
more  wants,  were  ver}^  unreasonable  animals ; 
and  it  was  but  just  that  they  should  make  way 
for  the  Europeans,  who  had  a thousand  wants 
to  their  one,  and,  therefore,  would  turn  the 
earth  to  more  account,  and  by  cultivating  it, 
more  truly  fulfil  the  will  of  Heaven.  Besides 
— Grotius,  and  Eauterbach,  and  Puffendorf, 
and  Titius,  and  many  wise  men  beside,  who 
have  considered  the  matter  properly,  have 
determined  that  the  property  of  a country 
cannot  be  acquired  by  hunting,  cutting  wood, 
or  drawing  water  in  it — nothing  but  precise 
demarcation  of  limits,  and  the  intention  of 
cultivation,  can  establish  the  possession.  Now, 
as  the  savages  (probably  from  never  having 
read  the  authors  above  quoted)  had  never 
complied  with  any  of  these  necessary  forms, 
it  plainly  follows  that  they  had  no  right  to 

:iBenevoIent  ;eiiropean9 


the  soil,  hut  that  it  was  completely  at  the  dis- 
posal of  the  first  comers,  who  had  more 
knowledge,  more  wants,  and  more  elegant, 
that  is  to  say  artificial,  desires  than  themselves. 

In  entering  upon  a newly  discovered,  uncul- 
tivated country,  therefore,  the  newcomers  were 
but  taking  possession  of  what,  according  to  the 
aforesaid  doctrine,  was  their  own  property  ; — 
therefore,  in  opposing  them,  the  savages  were 
invading  their  just  rights,  infringing  the  im- 
mutable laws  of  nature,  and  counteracting  the 
will  of  heaven  : therefore,  they  were  guilty 
of  impiety,  burglary,  and  trespass  on  the  case  : 
therefore,  they  were  hardened  offenders  against 
God  and  man  : therefore,  they  ought  to  be 

But  a more  irresistible  right  than  either  that 
I have  mentioned,  and  one  which  will  be  the 
most  readily  admitted  by  my  reader,  provided 
he  be  blessed  with  bowels  of  charity  and  philan- 
thropy, is  the  right  acquired  by  civilization. 
All  the  world  knows  the  lamentable  state  in 
which  these  poor  savages  were  found.  Not  only 
deficient  in  the  comforts  of  life,  but  what  is  still 
worse,  most  piteously  and  unfortunately  blind 
to  the  miseries  of  their  situation.  But  no 
sooner  did  the  benevolent  inhabitants  of  Europe 
behold  their  sad  condition,  than  they  immedi- 
ately went  to  work  to  ameliorate  and  improve 




B Ibistor^  of  IRcvv  l^ork 

it.  They  introduced  among  them  rum,  gin, 
brandy,  and  the  other  comforts  of  life, — and  it 
is  astonishing  to  read  how  soon  the  poor  sav- 
ages learned  to  estimate  those  blessings  ; they 
likewise  made  known  to  them  a thousand 
remedies,  by  which  the  most  inveterate  diseases 
are  alleviated  and  healed  ; and  that  they  might 
comprehend  the  benefits  and  enjoy  the  comforts 
of  these  medicines,  they  previously  introduced 
among  them  the  diseases  which  they  were  cal- 
culated to  cure.  By  these  and  a variety  of 
other  methods  was  the  condition  of  these  poor 
savages  wonderfully  improved  ; they  acquired 
a thousand  wants,  of  which  they  had  before 
been  ignorant ; and  as  he  has  most  sources  of 
happiness  who  has  most  wants  to  be  gratified, 
they  were  doubtlessly  rendered  a much  happier 
race  of  beings. 

But  the  most  important  branch  of  civilization, 
and  which  has  most  strenuously  been  extolled 
by  the  zealous  and  pious  fathers  of  the  Romish 
Church,  is  the  introduction  of  the  Christian 
faith.  It  w^as  truly  a sight  that  might  well 
inspire  horror,  to  behold  these  savages  tum- 
bling among  the  dark  mountains  of  paganism, 
and  guilty  of  the  most  horrible  ignorance  of 
religion.  It  is  true,  they  neither  stole  nor 
defrauded  ; they  were  sober,  frugal,  continent, 
and  faithful  to  their  word  ; but  though  they 


:©enev>olent  Buropeans 

acted  right  habitually,  it  was  all  in  vain,  unless 
they  acted  so  from  precept.  The  new  comers, 
therefore,  used  every  method  to  induce  them  to 
embrace  and  practise  the  true  religion, — except 
indeed  that  of  setting  them  the  example. 


But  notwithstanding  all  these  complicated 
labors  for  their  good,  such  was  the  unparalleled 
obstinacy  of  these  stubborn  wretches,  that  they 
ungratefully  refused  to  acknowledge  the  stran- 
gers as  their  benefactors,  and  persisted  in  disbe- 
lieving the  doctrines  they  endeavored  to  incul- 


B 1bl9tor^  of  IRcw  lork 

cate  ; most  insolently  alleging,  that,  from  their 
conduct,  the  advocates  of  Christianity  did  not 
seem  to  believe  in  it  themselves.  Was  not  this 
too  much  for  human  patience  ? — would  not  one 
suppose  that  the  benign  visitants  from  Europe, 
provoked  at  their  incredulity,  and  discouraged 
by  their  stiff-necked  obstinacy,  would  forever 
have  abandoned  their  shores,  and  consigned 
them  to  their  original  ignorance  and  misery? 
But  no  : so  zealous  were  they  to  effect  the 
temporal  comfort  and  eternal  salvation  of  these 
pagan  infidels,  that  they  even  proceeded  from 
the  milder  means  of  persuasion  to  the  more 
painful  and  troubleisome  one  of  persecution, — 
let  loose  among  them  whole  troops  of  fiery 
monks  and  furious  bloodhounds,  — purified 
them  by  fire  and  sword,  by  stake  and  fagot ; 
in  consequence  of  which  indefatigable  measures 
the  cause  of  Christain  love  and  charity  was  so 
rapidly  advanced,  that  in  a few  years  not  one 
fifth  of  the  unbelievers  existed  in  South  Amer- 
ica that  were  found  there  at  the  time  of  its 

What  stronger  right  need  the  European 
settlers  advance  to  the  country  than  this? 
Have  not  whole  nations  of  uninformed  savages 
been  made  acquainted  with  a thousand  imperi- 
ous wants  and  indispensable  comforts,  of  which 
they  were  before  wholly  ignorant  ? Have 



Ulnctratcful  Bbori^ines 


they  not  been  literally  hunted  and  smoked  out 
of  the  dens  and  lurking-places  of  ignorance  and 
infidelity,  and  absolutely  scourged  into  the  right 
path  ? Have  not  the  temporal  things,  the  vain 
baubles  and  filthy  lucre  of  this  world,  which 
were  apt  to  engage  their  worldly  and  selfish 
thoughts,  been  benevolently  taken  from  them  ; 
and  have  they  not,  instead  thereof,  been  taught 
to  set  their  affections  on  things  above  ? And, 
finally,  to  use  the  words  of  a reverend  Spanish 
father,  in  a letter  to  his  superior  in  Spain,  “ Can 
any  one  have  the  presumption  to  say  that  these 
savage  Pagans  have  yielded  anything  more 
than  an  inconsiderable  recompense  to  their 
benefactors,  in  surrendering  to  them  a little 
pitiful  tract  of  this  dirty  sublunary  planet  in 
exchange  for  a glorious  inheritance  in  the 
kingdom  of  heaven  ? ’ ’ 

Here,  then,  are  three  complete  and  undeni- 
able sources  of  right  established,  any  one  of 
which  was  more  than  ample  to  establish  a 
property  in  the  newly-discovered  regions  of 
America.  Now,  so  it  has  happened  in  certain 
parts  of  this  delightful  quarter  of  the  globe, 
that  the  right  of  discovery  has  been  so  strenu- 
ously asserted,  the  influence  of  cultivation  so 
industriously  extended,  and  the  progress  of 
salvation  and  civilization  so  zealously  prose- 
cuted, that,  what  with  their  attendant  wars,  per- 

VOL.  I.— 7 




B Ibistor^  of  IRew  L>ork 

secutions,  oppressions,  diseases,  and  other  partial 
evils  that  often  hang  on  the  skirts  of  great 
benefits,  the  savage  aborigines  have,  somehow 
or  another,  been  utterly  annihilated ; — and 
this  all  at  once  brings  me  to  a fourth  right, 
which  is  worth  all  the  others  put  together. 
For  the  original  claimants  to  the  soil  being  all 
dead  and  buried,  and  no  one  remaining  to  in- 
herit or  dispute  the  soil,  the  Spaniards,  as  the 
next  immediate  occupants,  entered  upon  the 
possession  as  clearly  as  the  hangman  succeeds 
to  the  clothes  of  the  malefactor  ; and  as  they 
have  Blackstone,*  and  all  the  learned  ex- 
pounders of  the  law  on  their  side,  they  may  set 
all  actions  of  ejectment  at  defiance  ; — and  this 
last  right  may  be  entitled  the  right  by  exter- 
mination, or,  in  other  words,  the  right  by 

But  lest  any  scruples  of  conscience  should 
remain  on  this  head,  and  to  settle  the  question 
of  right  forever,  his  holiness  Pope  Alexander 
VI.  issued  a bull,  by  which  he  generously 
granted  the  newly-discovered  quarter  of  the 
globe  to  the  Spaniards  and  Portuguese  ; who, 
thus  having  law  and  gospel  on  their  side,  and 
being  inflamed  with  great  spiritual  zeal,  showed 
the  Pagan  savages  neither  favor  nor  affection, 
but  prosecuted  the  work  of  disco verj^  coloniza- 
*Blackstone,  Com.,  b.  ii.,  cap.  i. 

B Clear  Citle 

tion,  civilization,  and  extermination  with  ten 
times  more  fury  than  ever. 

Thus  were  the  European  worthies  who  first 
discovered  America  clearly  entitled  to  the  soil  ; 


and  not  only  entitled  to  the  soil,  but  likewise 
to  the  eternal  thanks  of  these  infidel  savages, 
for  having  come  so  far,  endured  so  many  perils 
by  sea  and  land,  and  taken  such  unwearied 

21  1bi9tor^  of  IRcvv  l^ork 

pains,  for  no  other  purpose  but  to  improve 
their  forlorn,  uncivilized  and  heathenish  con- 
dition,— for  having  made  them  acquainted  with 
the  comforts  of  life, — for  having  introduced 
among  them  the  light  of  religion, — and,  finally, 
for  having  hurried  them  out  of  the  world,  to 
enjoy  its  reward  ! 

But  as  argument  is  never  so  well  understood 
by  us  selfish  mortals  as  when  it  comes  home  to 
ourselves,  and  as  I am  particular!}"  anxious 
that  this  question  should  be  put  to  rest  forever, 
I will  suppose  a parallel  case,  by  way  of  arous- 
ing the  candid  attention  of  my  readers. 

Let  us  suppose,  then,  that  the  inhabitants  of 
the  moon,  by  astonishing  advancement  in 
science,  and  by  profound  insight  into  that  lu- 
nar philosophy,  the  mere  flickerings  of  which 
have  of  late  years  dazzled  the  feeble  optics,  and 
addled  the  shallow  brains  of  the  good  people 
of  our  globe, — let  us  suppose,  I say,  that  the 
inhabitants  of  the  moon,  by  these  means,  had 
arrived  at  such  a command  of  their  energies, 
such  an  enviable  state  of  perfeetibility,  as  to 
control  the  elements,  and  navigate  the  bound- 
less regions  of  space.  Let  us  suppose  a roving 
crew  of  these  soaring  philosophers,  in  the 
course  of  an  aerial  voyage  of  discovery  among 
the  stars,  should  chance  to  alight  upon  this 
outlandish  planet. 

Zhc  /iRen  of  tbe  /Iftoon 

And  here  I beg  my  readers  will  not  have  the 
uncharitableness  to  smile,  as  is  too  frequently 
the  fault  of  volatile  readers,  when  perusing  the 
grave  speculations  of  philosophers.  I am  far 
from  indulging  in  any  sportive  vein  at  present  ; 


nor  is  the  supposition  I have  been  making  so 
wild  as  many  may  deem  it.  It  has  long  been 
a very  serious  and  anxious  question  with  me, 
and  many  a time  and  oft,  in  the  course  of  my 
overwhelming  cares  and  contrivances  for  the 

102  B 1bi6tor^  of  1Revv 

welfare  and  protection  of  this  my  native  planet, 
have  I lain  awake  whole  nights  debating  in 
my  mind,  whether  it  were  most  probable  we 
should  first  discover  and  civilize  the  moon,  or 
the  moon  discover  and  civilize  our  globe. 
Neither  would  the  prodigy  of  sailing  in  the  air 
and  cruising  among  the  stars  be  a whit  more 
astonishing  and  incomprehensible  to  us  than 
was  the  European  mystery  of  navigating  float- 
ing castles,  through  the  world  of  waters,  to 
the  simple  natives.  We  have  already  discov- 
ered the  art  of  coasting  along  the  aerial  shores 
of  our  planet,  by  means  of  balloons,  as  the 
savages  had  of  venturing  along  their  sea-coasts 
in  canoes  ; and  the  disparity  between  the  for- 
mer and  the  aerial  vehicles  of  the  philosophers 
from  the  moon  might  not  be  greater  than  that 
between  the  bark  canoes  of  the  savages  and 
the  mighty  ships  of  their  discoverers.  I might 
here  pursue  an  endless  chain  of  similar  specu- 
lations ; but  as  they  would  be  unimportant  to 
my  subject,  I abandon  them  to  my  reader,  par- 
ticularly if  he  be  a philosopher,  as  matters  well 
worthy  of  his  attentive  consideration. 

To  return,  then,  to  my  supposition  ; — let  us 
suppose  that  the  aerial  visitants  I have  men- 
tioned possessed  of  vastly  superior  knowledge  to 
ourselves  ; that  is  to  say,  possessed  of  superior 
knowledge  in  the  art  of  extermination, — riding 


ZIbe  /iben  of  tbe  /iboon 



liyppogrifFs, — defended  with  impenetrable 
armor, — armed  with  concentrated  sunbeams, 
and  provided  with  vast  engines,  to  hurl  enor- 
mous moon-stones : in  short,  let  us  suppose 
them,  if  our  vanity  will  permit  the  supposition, 
as  superior  to  us  in  knowledge,  and  conse- 
quently in  power,  as  the  Europeans  were  to 
the  Indians,  when  they  first  discovered  them. 
All  this  is  very  possible  ; it  is  only  our  self- 
sufficiency  that  makes  us  think  otherwise  ; and 
I warrant  the  poor  savages,  before  they  had 
any  knowledge  of  the  white  men,  armed  in  all 
the  terrors  of  glittering  steel  and  tremendous 
gun-powder,  were  as  perfectly  convinced  that 
they  themselves  were  the  wisest,  the  most  vir- 
tuous, powerful,  and  perfect  of  created  beings, 
as  are,  at  this  present  moment,  the  lordly  in- 
habitants of  old  England,  the  volatile  populace 
of  France,  or  even  the  self-satisfied  citizens  of 
this  most  enlightened  republic. 

Let  us  suppose,  moreover,  that  the  aerial 
voyagers,  finding  this  planet  to  be  nothing  but 
a howling  wilderness,  inhabited  by  us  poor 
savages  and  wild  beasts,  shall  take  formal  pos- 
session of  it,  in  the  name  of  his  most  gracious 
and  philosophic  excellency,  the  man  in  the 
moon.  Finding,  however,  that  their  numbers 
are  incompetent  to  hold  it  in  complete  subjec- 
tion, on  account  of  the  ferocious  barbarity  of 




B 1[3i0tor^  of  Ittcvv  ^ox\\ 

its  inhabitants,  they  shall  take  our  worthy 
President,  the  King  of  England,  the  Emperor 
of  Hayti,  the  mighty  Bonaparte,  and  the  great 
King  of  Bantam,  and  returning  to  their  native 
planet,  shall  carry  them  to  court,  as  were  the 
Indian  chiefs  led  about  as  spectacles  in  the 
courts  of  Europe. 

Then  making  such  obeisance  as  the  etiquette 
of  the  court  requires,  they  shall  address  the 
puissant  man  in  the  moon,  in,  as  near  as  I can 
conjecture,  the  following  terms  : — 

“ Most  serene  and  mighty  Potentate,  whose 
dominions  extend  as  far  as  eye  can  reach,  who 
rideth  on  the  Great  Bear,  useth  the  sun  as 
a looking-glass,  and  maintaineth  unrivalled 
control  over  tides,  madmen,  and  sea-crabs. 
We,  thy  liege  subjects,  have  just  returned  from 
a voyage  of  discovery,  in  the  course  of  which 
we  have  landed  and  taken  possession  of  that 
obscure  little  dirty  planet,  which  thou  beholdest 
rolling  at  a distance.  The  five  uncouth  mon- 
sters, which  we  have  brought  into  this  august 
presence,  were  once  very  important  chiefs 
among  their  fellow-savages,  who  are  a race  of 
beings  totally  destitute  of  the  common  attri- 
butes of  humanity  ; and  differing  in  everything 
from  the  inhabitants  of  the  moon,  inasmuch  as 
they  carry  their  heads  upon  their  shoulders, 
instead  of  under  their  arms, — have  two  eyes 


Zbc  /iRen  of  tbc  /Iboon 

instead  of  one, — are  utterly  destitute  of  tails,  and 
of  a variety  of  unseemly  complexions,  particu- 
larly of  horrible  whiteness,  instead  of  pea-green. 


“ We  have  moreover  found  these  miserable 
savages  sunk  into  a state  of  the  utmost  igno- 
rance and  depravity,  every  man  shamelessly 



B ‘ff3istori?  of  IRew  J^ork 

living  with  his  own  wife,  and  rearing  his  own 
children,  instead  of  indulging  in  that  commu- 
nity of  wives  enjoined  by  the  law  of  nature,  as 
expounded  b}"  the  philosophers  of  the  moon. 
In  a word,  they  have  scarcely  a gleam  of  true 
philosophy  among  them,  but  are,  in  fact,  utter 
heretics,  ignoramuses,  and  barbarians.  Tak- 
ing compassion,  therefore,  on  the  sad  condition 
of  these  sublunary  wretches,  we  have  endeav- 
ored, while  we  remained  on  their  planet,  to 
introduce  among  them  the  light  of  reason,  and 
the  comforts  of  the  moon.  We  have  treated 
them  to  mouthfuls  of  moonshine,  and  draughts 
of  nitrous  oxide,  which  they  swallowed  with 
incredible  voracity,  particularly  the  females  ; 
and  we  have  likewise  endeavored  to  instil  into 
them  the  precepts  of  lunar  philosophy.  We 
have  insisted  upon  their  renouncing  the  con- 
temptible shackles  of  religion  and  common 
sense,  and  adoring  the  profound,  omnipotent, 
and  all-perfect  energy,  and  the  ecstatic,  immu- 
table, immovable  perfection.  But  such  was 
the  unparalleled  obstinacy  of  these  wretched 
savages,  that  they  persisted  in  cleaving  to  their 
wives,  and  adhering  to  their  religion,  and 
absolutely  set  at  naught  the  sublime  doctrines 
of  the  moon, — nay,  among  other  abominable 
heresies,  they  even  went  so  far  as  blasphem- 
ously to  declare,  that  this  ineffable  planet  was 


Zbc  /iRen  of  tbc  /iRoon 


made  of  nothing  more  nor  less  than  green 
cheese  ! ’ ’ 

At  these  words,  the  great  man  in  the  moon 
(being  a very  profound  philosopher)  shall  fall 
into  a terrible  passion,  and  possessing  equal 
authority  over  things  that  do  not  belong  to 
him,  as  did  whilom  his  holiness  the  Pope, 
shall  forthwith  issue  a formidable  bull,  speci- 
fying, ‘ ‘ That,  whereas  a certain  crew  of  Luna- 
tics have  lately  discovered,  and  taken  possession 
of  a newly-discovered  planet  called  t/ie  earth ; 
and  that,  whereas  it  is  inhabited  by  none  but 
a race  of  two-legged  animals  that  carry  their 
heads  on  their  shoulders  instead  of  under  their 
arms,  cannot  talk  the  Lunatic  language,  have 
two  eyes  instead  of  one,  are  destitute  of  tails, 
and  of  a horrible  whiteness,  instead  of  pea- 
green  : — therefore,  and  for  a variety  of  other 
excellent  reasons,  they  are  considered  incapable 
of  possessing  any  property  in  the  planet  they 
infest,  and  the  right  and  title  to  it  are  con- 
firmed to  its  original  discoverers.  And  further- 
more, the  colonists  who  are  now  about  to 
depart  to  the  aforesaid  planet  are  authorized 
and  commanded  to  use  every  means  to  convert 
these  infidel  savages  from  the  darkness  of 
Christianity,  and  make  them  thorough  and 
absolute  Lunatics.” 

In  consequence  of  this  benevolent  bull,  our 


B 1bi9tor^  of  IRcw  J^ork 

philosophic  benefactors  go  to  work  with  hearty 
zeal.  They  seize  upon  our  fertile  territories, 
scourge  us  from  our  rightful  possessions,  relieve 
us  from  our  wives  ; and  when  we  are  unreason- 
able enough  to  complain,  they  will  turn  upon 
us  and  say  : Miserable  barbarians  ! ungrateful 
wretches  ! have  we  not  come  thousands  of 
miles  to  improve  your  worthless  planet ; have 
we  not  fed  you  with  moonshine  ; have  we  not 
intoxicated  you  with  nitrous  oxide ; does  not 
our  moon  give  you  light  every  night ; and 
have  you  the  baseness  to  murmur  when  we 
claim  a pitiful  return  for  all  these  benefits  ? 
But  finding  that  we  not  only  persist  in  absolute 
contempt  of  their  reasoning  and  disbelief  in 
their  philosophy,  but  even  go  so  far  as  daringly 
to  defend  our  property,  their  patience  shall 
be  exhausted,  and  they  shall  resort  to  their 
superior  powers  of  argument  : hunt  us  with 
hyppogriffs,  transfix  us  with  concentrated  sun- 
beams, demolish  our  cities  with  moon-stones ; 
until  having,  by  main  force,  converted  us  to 
the  true  faith,  they  shall  graciously  permit  us 
to  exist  in  the  torrid  deserts  of  Arabia,  or  the 
frozen  regions  of  Lapland,  there  to  enjoy  the 
blessings  of  civilization  and  the  charms  of  lunar 
philosophy,  in  much  the  same  manner  as  the 
reformed  and  enlightened  savages  of  this  coun- 
try are  kindly  suffered  to  inhabit  the  inhos- 




Zbc  IRi^bte  iproveb 


pitable  forests  of  the  north,  or  the  impenetrable 
wildernesses  of  South  America. 

Thus,  I hope,  I have  clearly  proved,  and 
strikingly  illustrated,  the  right  of  the  early 
colonists  to  the  possession  of  this  country  ; and 
thus  is  this  gigantic  question  completely  van- 
quished : so,  having  manfully  surmounted  all 
obstacles,  and  subdued  all  opposition,  what 
remains  but  that  I should  forthwith  conduct 
my  readers  into  the  city  which  we  have  been 
so  long  in  a manner  besieging  ? But  hold  ; 
before  I proceed  another  step,  I must  pause  to 
take  breath,  and  recover  from  the  excessive 
fatigue  I have  undergone,  in  preparing  to 
begin  this  most  accurate  of  histories.  And  in 
this  I do  but  imitate  the  example  of  a renowned 
Dutch  tumbler  of  antiquity,  who  took  a start 
of  three  miles  for  the  purpose  of  jumping  over 
a hill,  but  having  run  himself  out  of  breath  by 
the  time  he  reached  the  foot,  sat  himself  quietly 
down  for  a few  moments  to  blow,  and  then 
walked  over  it  at  his  leisure. 




' — \l^lJ 

Cbapter  11 


\ Y great-grandfather,  by 
33 the  mother’s  side,  Her- 

ti-  manus  Van  Clattercop, 
when  employed  to  build 
the  large  stone  church  at 
Rotterdam,  which  stands 
about  three  hundred 
yards  to  your  left  after 
^ ^ you  turn  off  from  the 

Boomkeys,  and  which 
is  so  conveniently  con- 
structed, that  all  the  zealous  Christians  of 
Rotterdam  prefer  sleeping  through  a sermon 
there  to  any  other  church  in  the  city, — my 
great-grandfather,  I say,  when  employed  to 
build  that  famous  church,  did  in  the  first  place 
send  to  Delft  for  a box  of  long  pipes  ; then 


B Ibistorg  ot  IRevv  ^ox\\ 

having  purchased  a new  spitting-box  and  a 
hundred-weight  of  the  best  Virginia,  he  sat 
himself  down,  and  did  nothing  for  the  space 
of  three  months  but  smoke  most  laboriously. 
Then  did  he  spend  full  three  months  more  in 
trudging  on  foot,  and  voyaging  in  trekschuit, 
from  Rotterdam  to  Amsterdam — to  Delft — to 
Haerlem — to  Leyden — to  the  Hague,  knocking 
his  head  and  breaking  his  pipe  against  every 
church  in  his  road.  Then  did  he  advance 
gradually  nearer  and  nearer  to  Rotterdam, 
until  he  came  in  full  sight  of  the  identical 
spot  whereon  the  church  was  to  be  built. 
Then  did  he  spend  three  months  longer  in 
walking  round  it  and  round  it,  contemplating 
it,  first  from  one  point  of  view,  and  then  from 
another, — now  would  he  be  paddled  by  it  on 
the  canal, — now  would  he  peep  at  it  through  a 
telescope  from  the  other  side  of  the  Meuse, 
and  now  would  he  take  a bird’s-eye  glance  at 
it  from  the  top  of  one  of  those  gigantic  wind- 
mills which  protect  the  gates  of  the  city.  The 
good  folks  of  the  place  were  on  the  tiptoe  of 
expectation  and  impatience  ; — notwithstanding 
all  the  turmoil  of  my  great-grandfather,  not  a 
symptom  of  the  church  was  yet  to  be  seen  ; 
they  even  began  to  fear  it  would  never  be, 
brought  into  the  world,  but  that  its  great  pro- 
jector would  lie  down  and  die  in  labor  of  the 


( ^ 

In  a similar  manner,  and  with  the  example 
of  my  worthy  ancestor  full  before  my  eyes, 
have  I proceeded  in  writing  this  most  authentic 
history.  The  honest  Rotterdamers  no  doubt 
thought  my  great-grandfather  was  doing  noth- 
ing at  all  to  the  purpose,  while  he  was  making 
such  a world  of  prefatory  bustle  about  the 
building  of  his  church — and  many  of  the  ingen- 
ious inhabitants  of  this  fair  city  will  unques- 
tionably suppose  that  all  the  preliminary 
chapters,  with  the  discovery,  population,  and 
final  settlement  of  America,  were  totally  irrele- 
vant and  superfluous, — and  that  the  main 
business,  the  history  of  New  York,  is  not  a jot 
more  advanced  than  if  I had  never  taken  up 
my  pen.  Never  were  wise  people  more  mis- 
taken in  their  conjectures : in  consequence 
of  going  to  work  slowly  and  deliberately,  the 
church  came  out  of  my  grandfather’s  hands 
one  of  the  most  sumptuous,  goodly,  and  glo- 
rious edifices  in  the  known  world, — excepting 
that,  like  our  magnificent  Capitol  at  Washing- 
ton, it  was  begun  on  so  grand  a scale  that  the 
good  folks  could  not  afford  to  finish  more  than 
the  wing  of  it.  So,  likewise,  I trust,  if  ever  I 
am  able  to  finish  this  work  on  the  plan  I have 
commenced  (of  which,  in  simple  truth,  I some- 
times have  my  doubts)  it  will  be  found  that  I 
have  pursued  the  latest  rules  of  my  art,  as 


exemplified  in  the  writings  of  all  the  great 
American  historians,  and  wrought  a very 
large  history  out  of  a small  subject, — which, 
nowadays,  is  considered  one  of  the  great 
triumphs  of  historic  skill.  To  proceed,  then, 
with  the  thread  of  my  story. 

In  the  ever-memorable  year  of  our  Lord 
1609,  on  a Saturday  morning,  the  five-and- 
twentieth  day  of  March,  old  style,  did  that 
‘ ‘ worthy  and  irrecoverable  discoverer  (as  he 
has  justly  been  called).  Master  Henry  Hud- 
son,” set  sail  from  Holland  in  a stout  vessel 
called  the  Half -Moon,  being  employed  by  the 
Dutch  East  India  Company,  to  seek  a north- 
west passage  to  China. 

Henry  (or,  as  the  Dutch  historians  call  him, 
Hendrick)  Hudson  was  a seafaring  man  of  re- 
nown, who  had  learned  to  smoke  tobacco  under 
Sir  Walter  Raleigh,  and  is  said  to  have  been  the 
first  to  introduce  it  into  Holland,  which  gained 
him  much  popularity  in  that  country,  and  caused 
him  to  find  great  favor  in  the  eyes  of  their  High 
Mightinesses,  the  Lords  States-General,  and  also 
of  the  honorable  West  India  Company.  He  was 
a short,  square,  brawny  old  gentleman,  with  a 
double  chin,  a mastiff  mouth,  and  a broad  cop- 
per nose,  which  was  supposed  in  those  days  to 
have  acquired  its  fiery  hue  from  the  constant 
neighborhood  of  his  tobacco-pipe. 



B Ibistor^  of  IRew  ll)ork 

He  wore  a true  Andrea  Ferrara,  tucked  in 
a leathern  belt,  and  a commodore’s  cocked 
hat  on  one  side  of  his  head.  He  was  remark- 
able for  always  jerking  up  his  breeches  when 
he  gave  out  his  orders,  and  his  voice  sounded 
not  unlike  the  prattling  of  a tin  trumpet, — 
owing  to  the  number  of  hard  northwesters 
which  he  had  swallowed  in  the  course  of  his 

Such  was  Hendrick  Hudson,  of  whom  we 
have  heard  so  much,  and  know  so  little  ; and 
I have  been  thus  particular  in  his  description 
for  the  benefit  of  modern  painters  and  statu- 
aries, that  they  may  represent  him  as  he  was, 
— and  not,  according  to  their  common  custom 
with  modern  heroes,  make  him  look  like  Caesar, 
or  Marcus  Aurelius,  or  the  Apollo  of  Belvi- 

As  chief  mate  and  favorite  companion,  the 
commodore  chose  master  Robert  Juet,  of  Lime- 
house,  in  England.  By  some  his  name  has 
been  spelled  Chewit,  and  ascribed  to  the  circum- 
stances of  his  having  been  the  first  man  that 
ever  chewed  tobacco  ; but  this  I believe  to  be 
a mere  flippancy  ; more  especially  as  certain 
of  his  progeny  are  living  at  this  day,  who  write 
their  names  Juet.  He  was  an  old  comrade  and 
early  schoolmate  of  the  great  Hudson,  with 
whom  he  had  often  played  truant  and  sailed  chip 


B 1bi6tor\?  of  IRcvv  lorK 

boats  in  a neighboring  pond,  when  they  were 
little  bo3"S  : from  whence  it  is  said  that  the 
commodore  first  derived  his  bias  towards  a sea- 
faring life.  Certain  it  is  that  the  old  people 
about  Limehouse  declared  Robert  Juet  to  be 
an  unlucky  urchin,  prone  to  mischief,  that 
would  one  day  or  other  come  to  the  gallows. 

He  grew  up,  as  boys  of  that  kind  often  grow 
up,  a rambling,  heedless  varlet,  tossed  about 
in  all  quarters  of  the  world, — meeting  with 
more  perils  and  wonders  than  did  Sinbad  the 
Sailor,  without  growing  a whit  more  wise, 
prudent,  or  ill-natured.  Under  every  misfor- 
tune, he  comforted  himself  with  a quid  of 
tobacco,  and  the  truly  philosophic  maxim,  that 
“ it  will  be  all  the  same  thing  a hundred  3^ears 
hence.”  He  was  skilled  in  the  art  of  carving 
anchors  and  true  lover’s  knots  on  the  bulk- 
heads and  quarter-railings,  and  was  considered 
a great  wit  on  board  ship,  in  consequence  of 
his  pla^dng  pranks  on  ever3’body  around,  and 
now  and  then  even  making  a wr3^  face  at  old 
Hendrick,  when  his  back  was  turned. 

To  this  universal  genius  are  we  indebted  for 
many  particulars  concerning  this  vo3mge  ; of 
which  he  wrote  a history,  at  the  request  of  the 
commodore,  who  had  an  unconquerable  aver- 
sion to  writing  himself,  from  having  received 
so  man3"  floggings  about  it  when  at  school. 

Zbc  Do^acje  121 

To  supply  the  deficiencies  of  Master  Juet’s 
journal,  which  is  written  with  true  log-book 
brevit}^,  I have  availed  myself  of  divers  family 
traditions,  handed  down  from  my  great-great- 
grandfather, who  accompanied  the  expedition 
in  the  capacity  of  cabin-boy. 

From  all  that  I can  learn,  few  incidents 
worthy  of  remark  happened  on  the  voyage  ; 
and  it  mortifies  me  exceedingly  that  I have  to 
admit  so  noted  an  expedition  into  my  work, 
without  making  any  more  of  it. 

Sufiice  it  to  say,  the  voyage  was  prosperous 
and  tranquil ; the  crew,  being  a patient  people, 
much  given  to  slumber  and  vacuity,  and  but 
little  troubled  with  the  disease  of  thinking, — 
a malady  of  the  mind,  which  is  the  sure  breeder 
of  discontent.  Hudson  had  laid  in  abundance 
of  gin  and  sourkrout,  and  every  man  was 
allowed  to  sleep  quietly  at  his  post  unless  the 
wind  blew.  True  it  is,  some  slight  disaffection 
was  shown  on  two  or  three  occasions,  at  cer- 
tain unreasonable  conduct  of  Commodore  Hud- 
son. Thus,  for  instance,  he  forbore  to  shorten 
sail  when  the  wind  was  light,  and  the  weather 
serene,  which  was  considered  among  the  most 
experienced  Dutch  seamen  as  certain  weathc7'- 
breeders,  or  prognostics  that  the  weather  would 
change  for  the  worse.  He  acted,  moreover,  in 
direct  contradiction  to  that  ancient  and  sage 


B 1F3i6tor^  of  IHevv  |)ork 

rule  of  the  Dutch  navigators,  who  alwa3\s  took 
ill  sail  at  night,  put  the  helm  a-port,  and 
turned  in, — by  which  precaution  they  had  a 
good  night’s  rest,  were  sure  of  knowing  where 
they  were  the  next  morning,  and  stood  but 
little  chance  of  running  down  a continent  in 
the  dark.  He  likewise  prohibited  the  seamen 
from  wearing  more  than  five  jackets  and  six 
pair  of  breeches,  under  pretence  of  rendering 
them  more  alert  ; and  no  man  was  permitted 
to  go  aloft  and  hand  in  sails  with  a pipe  in  his 
mouth,  as  is  the  invariable  Dutch  custom  at 
the  present  day.  All  these  grievances,  though 
they  might  ruffie  for  a moment  the  constitu- 
tional tranquillity  of  the  honest  Dutch  tars, 
made  but  transient  impression ; — they  ate 
hugely,  drank  profusely,  and  slept  immeasur- 
ably ; and  being  under  the  especial  guidance 
of  Providence,  the  ship  was  safely  conducted  to 
the  coast  of  America  ; where,  after  sundry  un- 
important touchings  and  standings  off  and  on, 
she  at  length,  on  the  fourth  day  of  September, 
entered  that  majestic  bay  which  at  this  day 
expands  its  ample  bosom  before  the  city  of 
New  York,  and  which  had  never  before  been 
visited  by  any  European.* 

* True  it  is — aud  I am  not  ignorant  of  the  fact— that 
in  a certain  apocryphal  book  of  voyages,  compiled 
by  one  Hakluyt,  is  to  be  found  a letter  written  to 

^Tbe  Hslanb  of  /lbannbat«n 

It  has  been  traditionary  in  oiir  famil}*,  that 
when  the  great  navigator  was  first  blessed  with 
a view  of  this  enchanting  island,  he  was  ob- 
served, for  the  first  and  only  time  in  his  life, 
to  exhibit  strong  symptoms  of  astonishment 


and  admiration.  He  is  said  to  have  turned  to 
Master  Juet,  and  uttered  these  remarkable 
words,  while  he  pointed  towards  this  para- 

Fraucisthe  First,  by  one  Giovanne,  or  John  Verazzani, 
on  which  some  writers  are  inclined  to  found  a belief 
that  this  delightful  bay  had  been  visited  nearly  a 


B of  IRcw  ll)orf? 

dise  of  the  new  world, — “See  ! there  ! “ — and 
thereupon,  as  was  always  his  way  when  he 
was  uncommonl}'  pleased,  he  did  puff  out 
such  clouds  of  dense  tobacco-smoke,  that  in 
one  minute  the  vessel  was  out  of  sight 
of  land,  and  Master  Juet  was  fain  to  wait 
until  the  winds  dispersed  this  impenetrable 

It  was  indeed, — as  my  great-grandfather  used 
to  say, — though  in  truth  I never  heard  him, 
for  he  died,  as  might  be  expected,  before  I 
was  born, — “ It  was  indeed  a spot  on  which 
the  eye  might  have  revelled  forever,  in  ever 
new  and  never-ending  beauties.”  The  island 
of  Mannhata  spread  wide  before  them,  like 

century  previous  to  the  voyage  of  the  enterprising 
Hudson.  Now  this  (albeit  it  has  met  with  the  counte- 
nance of  certain  very  j udicious  and  learned  men)  I hold 
in  utter  disbelief,  and  that  for  various  good  and  sub- 
stantial reasons  : First,  Because  on  strict  examination 
it  will  be  found,  that  the  description  given  by  this  Ver- 
azzani  applies  about  as  well  to  the  bay  of  New  York  as 
it  does  to  my  nightcap.  Secondly,  Because  that  this 
John  Verazzani,  for  whom  I already  begin  to  feel  a 
most  bitter  enmity,  is  a native  of  Florence  ; and 
everybody  knows  the  crafty  wiles  of  these  losel  Flor- 
entines, by  which  they  filched  away  the  laurels  from 
the  brows  of  the  immortal  Colon,  (vulgarly  called 
Columbus,)  and  bestowed  them  on  their  officious 
townsman,  Amerigo  Vespucci  ; and  I make  no  doubt 
they  are  equally  ready  to  rob  the  illustriovis  Hudson 


^Ibe  HslanD  of  /Ilbannbata 


some  sweet  vision  of  fancy,  or  some  fair  crea- 
tion of  industrious  magic.  Its  hills  of  smil- 
ing green  swelled  gently  one  above  another, 
crowned  with  lofty  trees  of  luxuriant  growth  ; 
some  pointing  their  tapering  foliage  towards 
the  clouds,  which  were  gloriously  transparent ; 
and  others  loaded  with  a verdant  burden  of 
clambering  vines,  bowing  their  branches  to 
the  earth,  that  was  covered  with  flowers.  On 
the  gentle  declivities  of  the  hills  were  scattered 
in  gay  profusion,  the  dog- wood,  the  sumach, 
and  the  wild  brier,  whose  scarlet  berries  and 
white  blossoms  glowed  brightly  among  the 
deep  green  of  the  surrounding  foliage  ; and 
here  and  there  a curling  column  of  smoke, 

of  the  credit  of  discovering  this  beautiful  island, 
adorned  by  the  city  of  New  York,  and  placing  it  be- 
side their  usurped  discovery  of  South  America.  And, 
thirdly,  I award  my  decision  in  favor  of  the  preten- 
sions of  Hendrick  Hudson,  inasmuch  as  his  expedi- 
tion sailed  from  Holland,  being  truly  and  absolutely 
a Dutch  enterprise  ; — and  though  all  the  proofs  in  the 
world  were  introduced  on  the  other  side,  I would  set 
them  at  naught,  as  undeserving  my  attention.  If 
these  three  reasons  be  not  sufficient  to  satisfy  every 
burgher  of  this  ancient  city,  all  I can  say  is,  they  are 
degenerate  descendants  from  their  venerable  Dutch 
ancestors,  and  totally  unworthy  the  trouble  of  con- 
vincing. Thus,  therefore,  the  title  of  Hendrick 
Hudson  to  his  renowned  discovery  is  fully  vindi- 




B 1bi6tor^  of  IRew  L^orf? 

rising  from  the  little  glens  that  opened  along 
the  shore,  seemed  to  promise  the  weary  vo}^- 
agers  a welcome  at  the  hands  of  their  fellow- 
creatures.  As  the}"  stood  gazing  with  entranced 
attention  on  the  scene  before  them,  a redman 
crowned  with  feathers  issued  from  one  of  these 
glens,  and  after  contemplating  in  wonder  the 
gallant  ship,  as  she  sat  like  a stately  swan 
swimming  on  a silver  lake,  sounded  the  war- 
whoop,  and  bounded  into  the  woods  like  a 
wild  deer,  to  the  utter  astonishment  of  the 
phlegmatic  Dutchmen,  who  had  never  heard 
such  a noise,  or  witnessed  such  a caper  in 
their  whole  lives. 

Of  the  transactions  of  our  adventurers  with 
the  savages,  and  how  the  latter  smoked  cop- 
per pipes,  and  ate  dried  currants  ; how  they 
brought  great  store  of  tobacco  and  oysters  ; 
how  they  shot  one  of  the  ship’s  crew,  and 
how  he  was  buried,  I shall  say  nothing  ; being 
that  I consider  them  unimportant  to  my  his- 
tory. After  tarrying  a few  days  in  the  bay,  in 
order  to  refresh  themselves  after  their  seafar- 
ing, our  voyagers  weighed  anchor,  to  explore 
a mighty  river  which  emptied  into  the  bay. 
This  river,  it  is  said,  was  known  among  the 
savages  by  the  name  of  the  Shatcmuck  ; though 
we  are  assured  in  an  excellent  little  history 
published  in  1674,  by  John  Josselyn,  Gent., 

tip  tbe  IRiver 

that  it  was  called  the  Mo/iegan,'^  and  Master 
Richard  Blome,  who  wrote  some  time  after- 
wards, asserts  the  same, — so  that  I very  much 
incline  in  favor  of  the  opinion  of  these  two 
honest  gentlemen.  Be  this  as  it  may,  up  this 
river  did  the  adventurous  Hendrick  proceed, 
little  doubting  but  it  would  turn  out  to  be  the 
much  looked-for  passage  to  China  ! 


The  journal  goes  on  to  make  mention  of 
divers  interviews  between  the  crew  and  the 
natives,  in  the  voyage  up  the  river  ; but  as 
they  would  be  impertinent  to  my  history,  I 

*This  river  is  likewise  laid  down  in  Ogilvy’s  map 
as  Manhattan — Noordt  Montaigne  and  Mauritius 


% 1bi6tors  of  IRew  ^ovk 

vShall  pass  over  them  in  silence,  except  the 
following  dry  joke,  played  off  by  the  old  com- 
modore and  his  school- fellow,  Robert  Juet, 
which  does  such  vast  credit  to  their  experi- 
mental philosophy,  that  I cannot  refrain  from 
inserting  it.  “Our  master  and  his  mate  de- 
termined to  try  some  of  the  chiefe  men  of  the 
countrey,  whether  they  had  any  treacherie  in 
them.  So  they  tooke  them  downe  into  the 
cabin,  and  gave  them  so  much  wine  and  aqua 
vitae,  that  they  were  all  merrie  ; and  one  of 
them  had  his  wife  with  him,  which  sate  so 
modestly,  as  any  of  our  countrey  women 
would  do  in  a strange  place.  In  the  end, 
one  of  them  was  drunke,  which  had  been 
aborde  of  our  ship  all  the  time  that  we  had 
been  there,  and  that  was  strange  to  them, 
for  they  could  not  tell  how  to  take  it.”  * 

Having  satisfied  himself  by  this  ingenious 
experiment  that  the  natives  were  an  honest, 
social  race  of  jolly  roysters,  who  had  no  objec- 
tion to  a drinking-bout  and  were  very  merry 
in  their  cups,  the  old  commodore  chuckled 
hugely  to  himself,  and  thrusting  a double  quid 
of  tobacco  in  his  cheek,  directed  Master  Juet  to 
have  it  carefully  recorded,  for  the  satisfaction 
of  all  the  natural  philosophers  of  the  university 
of  Leyden, — which  done,  he  proceeded  on  his 
^ Juet's  Journ.^  Purch.  Pil. 




■fl)iiD60tr6  Ibonors 

voyage,  with  great  self-complacency.  After 
sailing,  however,  above  a hundred  miles  up 
the  river,  he  found  the  watery  world  around 
him  began  to  grow  more  shallow  and  confined, 
the  current  more  rapid,  and  perfectly  fresh, — 
phenomena  not  uncommon  in  the  ascent  of 
rivers,  but  which  puzzled  the  honest  Dutch- 
men prodigiously.  A consultation  was  there- 
fore called,  and  having  deliberated  full  six 
hours,  they  were  brought  to  a determination 
by  the  ship’s  running  aground, — whereupon 
they  unanimously  concluded  that  there  was 
but  little  chance  of  getting  to  China  in  this 
direction.  A boat,  however,  was  despatched 
to  explore  higher  up  the  river,  which,  on  its 
return,  confirmed  the  opinion ; upon  this  the 
ship  was  warped  off  and  put  about,  with  great 
difficulty,  being,  like  most  of  her  sex,  exceed- 
ingly ’ hard  to  govern  ; and  the  adventurous 
Hudson,  according  to  the  account  of  my  great- 
great-grandfather,  returned  down  the  river — 
with  a prodigious  flea  in  his  ear  ! 

Being  satisfied  that  there  was  little  likelihood 
of  getting  to  China,  unless,  like  the  blind  man, 
he  returned  from  whence  he  set  out,  and  took 
a fresh  start,  he  forthwith  recrossed  the  sea  to 
Holland,  where  he  was  received  with  great 
welcome  by  the  honorable  Hast  India  Com- 
pany, who  were  very  much  rejoiced  to  see  him 

VOL.  I.— 9 


B Ibistor^  of  IRevv  l^ork 

come  back  .safe — with  their  ship ; and  at  a 
large  and  respectable  meeting  of  the  first  mer- 
chants and  burgomasters  of  Amsterdam,  it 
was  unanimously  determined,  that,  as  a muni- 
ficent reward  for  the  important  discovery  he 
had  made,  the  great  river  Mohegan  should  be 
called  after  his  name  ! — and  it  continues  to  be 
called  Hudson  river  unto  this  very  day. 

Chapter  nil 


delectable  ac- 
counts given  by  the 
great  Hudson,  and 
Master  Juet,  of  the 
country  they  had 
discovered,  excited 
not  a little  talk  and 
speculation  among 
the  good  people  of 

patent  were  granted 
b}^  government  to 
an  association  of  merchants,  called  the  West 
India  Company,  for  the  exclusive  trade  on 
Hudson  river,  on  which  they  erected  a trading- 
house,  called  Fort  Aurania,  or  Orange,  from 



B UDistor^  of  IRew  l^ork 

whence  did  spring  the  great  city  of  Albany. 
But  I forbear  to  dwell  on  the  various  com- 
mercial and  colonizing  enterprises  which  took 
place, — among  which  was  that  of  Mynheer 
Adrian  Block,  who  discovered  and  gave  a 
name  to  Block  Island,  since  famous  for  its 
cheese, — and  shall  barely  confine  myself  to 
that  which  gave  birth  to  this  renowned  city. 

It  was  some  three  or  four  3^ears  after  the 
return  of  the  immortal  Hendrick,  that  a crew 
of  honest,  Low-Dutch  colonists  set  sail  from 
the  city  of  Amsterdam  for  the  shores  of  Amer- 
ica. It  is  an  irreparable  loss  to  history,  and 
a great  proof  of  the  darkness  of  the  age,  and 
the  lamentable  neglect  of  the  noble  art  of 
book-making,  since  so  industriously  cultivated 
by  knowing  sea-captains,  and  learned  supercar- 
goes, that  an  expedition  so  interesting  and  im- 
portant in  its  results  should  be  passed  over  in 
utter  silence.  To  my  great-great-grandfather  am 
I again  indebted  for  the  few  facts  I am  enabled 
to  give  concerning  it, — he  having  once  more 
embarked  for  this  country  with  a full  determi- 
nation, as  he  said,  of  ending  his  days  here, 
and  of  begetting  a race  of  Knickerbockers 
that  should  rise  to  be  great  men  in  the  land. 

The  ship  in  which  these  illustrious  adven- 
turers set  sail  was  called  the  Goede  Vrouw,  or 
good  woman,  in  compliment  to  the  wife  of  the 


JBrave  pioneers 


President  of  the  West  India  Company,  who 
was  allowed  by  everybody  ( except  her  hus- 
band) to  be  a sweet-tempered  lady — when  not 
in  liquor.  It  was  in  truth  a most  gallant  ves- 
sel, of  the  most  improved  Dutch  construction, 
and  made  by  the  ablest  ship-carpenters  of 
Amsterdam,  who  it  is  well  known,  always 
model  their  ships  after  the  fair  forms  of  their 
country-women.  Accordingly  it  had  one  hun- 
dred feet  in  the  beam,  one  hundred  feet  in  the 
keel,  and  one  hundred  feet  from  the  bottom 
of  the  stern-post  to  the  tafferel.  Like  the 
beauteous  model,  who  was  declared  to  be 
the  greatest  belle  in  Amsterdam,  it  was  full 
in  the  bows,  with  a pair  of  enormous  cat- 
heads, a copper  bottom,  and  withal  a most 
prodigious  poop. 

The  architect,  who  was  somewhat  of  a reli- 
gious man,  far  from  decorating  the  ship  with 
pagan  idols,  such  as  Jupiter,  Neptune,  or  Her- 
cules (which  heathenish  abominations,  I have 
no  doubt,  occasion  the  misfortunes  and  ship- 
wreck of  many  a noble  vessel) — he,  I say  on 
the  contrary,  did  laudably  erect  for  a head,  a 
goodly  image  of  St.  Nicholas,  equipped  with  a 
low,  broad-brimmed  hat,  a huge  pair  of  Flem- 
ish trunk-hose,  and  a pipe  that  reached  to  the 
end  of  the  bowsprit.  Thus  gallantly  furnished, 
the  stanch  ship  floated  sideways,  like  a majestic 

134  B 1F3i9tor^  of  IRew  ^ovk 

goose,  out  of  the  harbor  of  the  great  city  of 
Amsterdam,  and  all  the  bells,  that  were  not 
otherwise  engaged,  rang  a triple  bob-major  on 
the  joyful  occasion. 

My  great-great-grandfather  remarks,  that 
the  voyage  was  uncommonly  prosperous,  for, 
being  under  the  especial  care  of  the  ever- 
revered  St.  Nicholas,  the  Goede  Vrouw  seemed 
to  be  endowed  with  qualities  unknown  to  com- 
mon vessels.  Thus  she  made  as  much  leeway 
as  headway,  could  get  along  very  nearly  as 
fast  with  the  wind  ahead  as  when  it  was 
a-poop, — and  was  particularly  great  in  a calm  ; 
in  consequence  of  which  singular  advantages 
she  made  out  to  accomplish  her  voyage  in  a 
very  few  months,  and  came  to  anchor  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Hudson,  a little  to  the  east  of 
Gibbet  Island. 

Here,  lifting  up  their  eyes,  they  beheld,  on 
what  is  at  present  called  the  Jersey  shore,  a 
small  Indian  village,  pleasantly  embowered  in 
a grove  of  spreading  elms,  and  the  natives  all 
collected  on  the  beach,  gazing  in  stupid  admir- 
ation at  the  Goede  Vrouw.  A boat  was  im- 
mediately despatched  to  enter  into  a treaty 
with  them,  and  approaching  the  shore,  hailed 
them  through  a trumpet,  in  the  most  friendly 
terms  ; but  so  horribly  confounded  were  these 
poor  savages  at  the  tremendous  and  uncouth 

JBravc  pioneers 

sound  of  the  Low-Dutch  language,  that  they 
one  and  all  took  to  their  heels,  and  scampered 
over  the  Bergen  hills  ; nor  did  they  stop  until 
they  had  buried  themselves,  head  and  ears,  in 
the  marshes  on  the  other  side,  where  they  all 
miserably  perished  to  a man  ; — and  their  bones, 
being  collected  and  decently  covered  by  the 
Tammany  Society  of  that  day,  formed  that 



singular  mound  called  Rattlesnake  Hill, 
which  rises  out  of  the  centre  of  the  salt  marshes 
a little  to  the  east  of  the  Newark  Causeway. 

Animated  by  this  unlooked-for  victory,  our 
valiant  heroes  sprang  ashore  in  triumph,  took 
possession  of  the  soil  as  conquerors,  in  the 
name  of  their  High  Mightinesses  the  Lords 
States-General ; and,  marching  fearlessly  for- 
ward, carried  the  village  of  Communipaw  by 


B 1bi9tori5  of  IRew  l^ork 

storm,  notwithstanding  that  it  was  vigorously 
defended  by  some  half  a score  of  old  squaws 
and  pappooses.  On  looking  about  them  they 
were  so  transported  with  the  excellences  of 
the  place,  that  they  had  very  little  doubt  the 
blessed  St.  Nicholas  had  guided  them  thither, 
as  the  very  spot  whereon  to  settle  their  colony. 
The  softness  of  the  soil  was  wonderfully 
adapted  to  the  driving  of  piles  ; the  swamps 
and  marshes  around  them  afforded  ample 
opportunities  for  the  constructing  of  dykes 
and  dams  ; the  shallowness  of  the  shore  was 
peculiarly  favorable  to  the  building  of  docks  ; — 
in  a word,  this  spot  abounded  with  all  the 
requisites  for  the  foundation  of  a great  Dutch 
city.  On  making  a faithful  report,  therefore, 
to  the  crew  of  the  Goede  Vrouw,  they  one  and 
all  determined  that  this  was  the  destined  end 
of  their  voyage.  Accordingly  they  descended 
from  the  Goede  Vroiiw,  men,  women,  and 
children,  in  goodly  groups,  as  did  the  animals 
of  yore  from  the  ark,  and  formed  themselves 
into  a thriving  settlement,  which  they  called 
by  the  Indian  name  Communipaw. 

As  all  the  world  is  doubtless  perfectly 
acquainted  with  Communipaw,  it  may  seem 
somewhat  superfluous  to  treat  of  it  in  the 
present  work  ; but  my  readers  will  please  to 
recollect,  notwithstanding  it  is  my  chief  desire 




to  satisfy  the  present  age,  yet  I write  likewise 
for  posterity,  and  have  to  consult  the  under- 
standing and  curiosity  of  some  half  a score  of 
centuries  yet  to  come,  by  which  time,  perhaps, 
were  it  not  for  this  invaluable  history,  the 
great  Communipaw,  like  Babylon,  Carthage, 
Nineveh,  and  other  great  cities,  might  be  per- 
fectly extinct, — sunk  and  forgotten  in  its  own 
mud, — its  inhabitants  turned  into  oysters,*  and 
even  its  situation  a fertile  subject  of  learned 
controversy  and  hard-headed  investigation 
among  indefatigable  historians.  Let  me  then 
piously  rescue  from  oblivion  the  humble  relics 
of  a place,  which  was  the  egg  from  whence 
was  hatched  the  mighty  city  of  New  York  ! 

Communipaw  is  at  present  but  a small  vil- 
lage, pleasantly  situated,  among  rural  scenery, 
on  that  beauteous  part  of  the  Jersey  shore 
which  was  known  in  ancient  legends  by  the 
name  of  Pavonia,t  and  commands  a grand 
prospect  of  the  superb  bay  of  New  York.  It 
is  within  but  half  an  hour’s  sail  of  the  latter 
place,  provided  you  have  a fair  wind,  and  may 
be  distinctly  seen  from  the  city.  Nay,  it  is  a 
well-known  fact,  which  I can  testify  from  my 

* “ Men  by  inaction  degenerate  into  oysters.” — 

f Pavonia,  in  the  ancient  maps,  is  a tract  of  country 
extending  from  about  Hoboken  to  Amboy. 


B 1(316101^  Of  IRevv  li)or{? 

own  experience,  that  on  a clear,  still  summer 
evening,  you  ma}^  hear,  from  the  Battery  of 
New  York,  the  obstreperous  peals  of  broad- 
mouthed laughter  of  the  Dutch  negroes  at 
Communipaw,  who,  like  most  other  negroes, 
are  famous  for  their  risible  powers.  This  is 
peculiarly  the  case  on  Sunday  evenings,  when, 
it  is  remarked  by  an  ingenious  and  obser\^ant 
philosopher,  who  has  made  great  discoveries 
in  the  neighborhood  of  this  city,  that  they 
always  laugh  loudest,  which  he  attributes  to 
the  circumstance  of  their  having  their  holiday 
clothes  on. 

These  negroes,  in  fact,  like  the  monks  of  the 
dark  ages,  engross  all  the  knowledge  of  the 
place,  and  being  infinitely  more  adventurous 
and  more  knowing  than  their  masters,  carry 
on  all  the  foreign  trade ; making  frequent 
voyages  to  town  in  canoes  loaded  with  oysters, 
buttermilk,  and  cabbages.  They  are  great 
astrologers,  predicting  the  different  changes  of 
weather  almost  as  accurately  as  an  almanac  ; 
they  are  moreover  exquisite  performers  on 
three-stringed  fiddles  ; in  whistling  they  almost 
boast  the  far-famed  powers  of  Orpheus’  lyre, 
for  not  a horse  or  an  ox  in  the  place,  when  at 
the  plough  or  before  the  wagon,  will  budge  a 
foot  until  he  hears  the  well-known  whistle  of 
his  black  driver  and  companion. — And  from 





their  amazing  skill  at  casting  up  accounts 
upon  their  fingers,  they  are  regarded  with  as 
much  veneration  as  were  the  disciples  of 
Pythagoras  of  yore,  when  initiated  into  the 
sacred  quaternary  of  numbers. 


As  to  the  honest  burghers  of  Communipaw, 
like  wise  men  and  sound  philosophers,  they 
never  look  beyond  their  pipes,  nor  trouble  their 
heads  about  any  affairs  out  of  their  immediate 
neighborhood  ; so  that  they  live  in  profound 
and  enviable  ignorance  of  all  the  troubles,  anx- 
ieties, and  revolutions  of  this  distracted  planet. 


21  1bi0torg  of  IRevv  lork 

I am  even  told  that  many  among  them  do 
verily  believe  that  Holland,  of  which  they  have 
heard  so  much  from  tradition,  is  situated  some- 
where on  Long  Island, — that  Spiking -devil  and 
the  Narrows  are  the  two  ends  of  the  world, — that 
the  country  is  still  under  the  dominion  of  their 
High  Mightinesses, — and  that  the  city  of  New 
York  still  goes  by  the  name  of  Nieuw  Amster- 
dam. They  meet  every  Saturday  afternoon  at 
the  only  tavern  in  the  place,  which  bears  as 
a sign  a square-headed  likeness  of  the  Prince 
of  Orange,  where  they  smoke  a silent  pipe, 
by  way  of  promoting  social  conviviality,  and 
invariably  drink  a mug  of  cider  to  the  success 
of  Admiral  Van  Tromp,  who  they  imagine  is 
still  sweeping  the  British  channel,  with  a 
broom  at  his  mast-head. 

Communipaw,  in  short,  is  one  of  the  numer- 
ous little  villages  in  the  vicinit}"  of  this  most 
beautiful  of  cities,  which  are  so  niany  strong- 
holds and  fastnesses,  whither  the  primitive 
manners  of  our  Dutch  forefathers  have  re- 
treated, and  where  they  are  cherished  with  de- 
vout and  scrupulous  strictness.  The  dress  of  the 
original  settlers  is  handed  down  inviolate,  from 
father  to  son  : the  identical  broad-brimmed 
hat,  broad-skirted  coat,  and  broad-bottomed 
breeches,  continue  from  generation  to  gener- 
ation ; and  several  gigantic  knee-buckles  of 


massy  silver  are  still  in  wear,  that  made  gallant 
display  in  the  days  of  the  patriarchs  of  Coni- 
miinipaw.  The  language  likewise  continues 
unadulterated  by  barbarous  innovations  ; and 
so  critically  correct  is  the  village  schoolmaster 
in  his  dialect,  that  his  reading  of  a kow-Dutch 
psalm  has  much  the  same  effect  on  the  nerves 
as  the  filing  of  a handsaw. 

Chapter  HUH 


T TT  AVING,  in  the  trifling 
/Tr^  digression  which  con- 

^ eluded  the  last  chap- 

' discharged  the  filial 

duty  which  the  city  of 
New  York  owed  to 
. Communipaw,  as  being 

— mother  settlement, 
“ and  having  given  a 

faithful  picture  of  it  as 
it  stands  at  present,  I return  with  a soothing 
sentiment  of  self-approbation,  to  dwell  upon 
its  early  history.  The  crew  of  the  Goede 
Vrouw  being  soon  reinforced  by  fresh  impor- 
tations from  Holland,  the  settlement  went 
jollily  on,  increasing  in  magnitude  and  pros- 
perity. The  neighboring  Indians  in  a short 
time  became  accustomed  to  the  uncouth  sound 

^iir  ^raDe 

of  the  Dutch  language,  and  an  intercourse 
gradually  took  place  between  them  and  the  new- 
comers. The  Indians  were  much  given  to  long 
talks,  and  the  Dutch  to  long  silence  ; — in  this 
particular,  there- 
fore, they  accommo-  I i 

dated  each  other  V p I 4 / 

completely.  The  viiV'nJI 

chiefs  would  make  V| 

long  speeches  about  J 

the  big  bull,  the  Wa-  ■ 

bash,  and  the  Great 

Spirit,  to  which  the 

others  would  listen  ' 

smoke  their  pipes, 

and  grunt  mj'n- 

her^ — whereat  the  ' '^i 

poor  savages  were 

w o n d r o u s 1 3^  d e - '' 

structed  the  new 
settlers  in  the  best 
art  of 


curing  and 
smoking  tobacco, 
while  the  latter,  in  return,  made  them  drunk 
with  true  Hollands — and  then  taught  them  the 
art  of  making  bargains. 

A brisk  trade  for  furs  was  soon  opened  ; the 



B Ibistorg  of  IRew  ^ovh 

Dutch  traders  were  scrupulously  honest  in 
their  dealings,  and  purchased  by  weight,  estab- 
lishing it  as  an  invariable  table  of  avoirdupois, 
that  the  hand  of  a Dutchman  weighed  one 
pound,  and  his  foot  two  pounds.  It  is  true, 
the  simple  Indians  were  often  puzzled  by  the 
great  disproportion  between  bulk  and  weight, 
for  let  them  place  a bundle  of  furs,  never  so 
large,  in  one  scale,  and  a Dutchman  put  his 
hand  or  foot  in  the  other,  the  bundle  was  sure 
to  kick  the  beam  ; — never  was  a package  of 
furs  known  to  weigh  more  than  two  pounds  in 
the  market  of  Communipaw. 

This  is  a singular  fact, — but  I have  it  direct 
from  my  great-great-grandfather,  who  had 
risen  to  considerable  importance  in  the  colony, 
being  promoted  to  the  office  of  weigh-master, 
on  account  of  the  uncommon  heaviness  of 
his  foot. 

The  Dutch  possessions  in  this  part  of  the 
globe  began  now  to  assume  a very  thriving 
appearance,  and  were  comprehended  under  the 
general  title  of  Nieuw  Nederlandts,  on  account, 
as  the  sage  Vander  Donck  observes,  of  their 
great  resemblance  to  the  Dutch  Netherlands, — 
which  indeed  was  truly  remarkable,  excepting 
that  the  former  were  rugged  and  mountainous, 
and  the  latter  level  and  marshy.  About  this 
time  the  tranquillity  of  the  Dutch  colonists  was 


B Ibistov^  of  1Revv  l^ork 

doomed  to  suffer  a temporary"  interruption.  In 
1614,  Captain  Sir  Samuel  Argal,  sailing  under 
a commission  from  Dale,  governor  of  Virginia, 
visited  the  Dutch  settlements  on  Hudson 
River  and  demanded  their  submission  to  the 
English  crown  and  Virginian  dominion.  To 
this  arrogant  demand,  as  they  were  in  no  con- 
dition to  resist  it,  they  submitted  for  the  time, 
like  discreet  and  reasonable  men. 

It  does  not  appear  that  the  valiant  Argal 
molested  the  settlement  of  Communipaw ; on 
the  contrary,  I am  told  that  when  his  vessel 
first  hove  in  sight,  the  worthy  burghers  were 
seized  with  such  a panic,  that  they  fell  to 
smoking  their  pipes  with  astonishing  vehe- 
mence ; insomuch  that  they  quickly  raised  a 
cloud,  which,  combining  with  the  surrounding 
woods  and  marshes,  completely  enveloped  and 
concealed  their  beloved  village,  and  overhung 
the  fair  regions  of  Pavonia, — so  that  the  terri- 
ble Captain  Argal  passed  on,  totally  unsuspi- 
cious that  a sturdy  little  Dutch  settlement  lay 
snugly  couched  in  the  mud,  under  cover  of  all 
this  pestilent  vapor.  In  commemoration  of 
this  fortunate  escape,  the  worthy  inhabitants 
have  continued  to  smoke,  almost  without  inter- 
mission, unto  this  very  day  ; which  is  said  to 
be  the  cause  of  the  remarkable  fog  which  often 
hangs  over  Communipaw  of  a clear  afternoon. 




B Ibistor^  of  mew  lorf? 

of  his  knowledge.  He  had  originally  been 
one  of  a set  of  peripatetic  philosophers  who 
passed  much  of  their  time  sunning  themselves 
on  the  side  of  the  great  canal  of  Amsterdam 
in  Holland ; enjoying,  like  Diogenes,  a free 
and  unencumbered  estate  in  sunshine.  His 
name  Kortlandt  (Shortland  or  Dackland)  was 
supposed,  like  that  of  the  illustrious  Jean 
Sansterre,  to  indicate  that  he  had  no  layid ; but 
he  insisted,  on  the  contrary,  that  he  had  great 
landed  estates  somewhere  in  Terra  Incognita  ; 
and  he  had  come  out  to  the  new  world  to  look 
after  them.  He  was  the  first  great  land-specu- 
lator that  we  read  of  in  these  parts. 

Like  all  land-speculators,  he  was  much  given 
to  dreaming.  Never  did  anything  extraordi- 
nary happen  at  Communipaw  but  he  declared 
that  he  had  previously  dreamt  it,  being  one  of 
those  infallible  prophets  who  predict  events 
after  they  have  come  to  pass.  This  superna- 
tural gift  was  as  highly  valued  among  the 
burghers  of  Pavonia  as  among  the  enlightened 
nations  of  antiquity.  The  wise  Ulysses  was 
more  indebted  to  his  sleeping  than  his  waking 
moments  for  his  subtle  achievements,  and  sel- 
dom undertook  any  great  exploit  without  first 
soundly  sleeping  upon  it ; and  the  same  may  be 
said  of  Oloffe  Van  Kortlandt,  who  was  thence 
aptly  denominated  Oloffe  the  Dreamer. 

©Ioffe  Dan  IkortlanDt 


As  yet  his  dreams  and  speculations  had 
turned  to  little  personal  profit  ; and  he  was  as 
much  a lack-land  as  ever.  Still  he  carried  a 
high  head  in  the  community  ; if  his  sugar-loaf 
hat  was  rather  the  worse  for  wear,  he  set  it  off 
with  a taller  cock’s-tail ; if  his  shirt  was  none 
of  the  cleanest,  he  puffed  it  out  the  more  at  the 
bosom  ; and  if  the  tail  of  it  peeped  out  of  a hole 
in  his  breeches,  it  at  least  proved  that  it  really 
had  a tail  and  was  not  mere  ruffle. 

The  worthy  Van  Kortlandt,  in  the  council 
in  question,  urged  the  policj^  of  emerging  from 
the  swamps  of  Communipaw  and  seeking  some 
more  eligible  site  for  the  seat  of  empire.  Such, 
he  said,,  was  the  advice  of  the  good  St. 
Nicholas,  who  had  appeared  to  him  in  a dream 
the  night  before  ; and  whom  he  had  known  by 
his  broad  hat,  his  long  pipe,  and  the  resem- 
blance which  he  bore  to  the  figure  on  the  bow 
of  the  Goede  Vrouw. 

Many  have  thought  this  dream  was  a mere 
invention  of  Oloffe  Van  Kortlandt,  who,  it  is 
said,  had  ever  regarded  Communipaw  with  an 
evil  eye  because  he  had  arrived  there  after  all 
the  land  had  been  shared  out,  and  who  was 
anxious  to  change  the  seat  of  empire  to  some 
new  place,  where  he  might  be  present  at  the 
distribution  of  “ town  lots.”  But  we  must  not 
give  heed  to  such  insinuations,  which  are  too 


B 1bi3tori?  of  1Rcw  l^ork 

apt  to  be  advanced  against  those  worthy  gen- 
tlemen engaged  in  laying  out  towns,  and  in 
other  land-speculations.  For  my  own  part,  I 
am  disposed  to  place  the  same  implicit  faith  in 
the  vision  of  Oloffe  the  Dreamer  that  was  mani- 
fested by  the  honest  burghers  of  Communipaw, 
who  one  and  all  agreed  that  an  expedition 
should  be  forthwith  fitted  out  to  go  on  a voy- 
age of  discovery  in  quest  of  a new  seat  of 

This  perilous  enterprise  was  to  be  conducted 
by  Oloffe  himself ; who  chose  as  lieutenants  or 
coadjutors  Mynheers  Abraham  Harden  Broeck, 
Jacobus  Van  Zandt,  andWinant  Ten  Broeck, — 
three  indubitably  great  men,  but  of  whose 
history,  although  I have  made  diligent  inquiry, 
I can  learn  but  little  previous  to  their  leaving 
Holland.  Nor  need  this  occasion  much  sur- 
prise ; for  adventurers,  like  prophets,  though 
they  make  great  noise  abroad,  have  seldom 
much  celebrity  in  their  own  countries  ; but  this 
much  is  certain,  that  the  overflowings  and  off- 
scourings of  a country  are  invariably  com- 
posed of  the  richest  parts  of  the  soil.  And 
here  I cannot  help  remarking  how  convenient 
it  would  be  to  many  of  our  great  men  and  great 
families  of  doubtful  origin,  could  they  have  the 
privilege  of  the  heroes  of  yore,  who,  whenever 
their  oirgin  was  involved  in  obscurity,  modestly 

:)  0 



announced  themselves  descended  from  a god, 
— and  who  never  visited  a foreign  country  but 
what  they  told  some  cock-and-bull  stories  about 
their  being  kings  and  princes  at  home.  This 
venal  trespass  on  the  truth,  though  it  has  been 
occasionally  played  off  by  some  pseudo-mar- 
quis, baronet,  and  other  illustrious  foreigner, 
in  our  land  of  good-natured  credulity,  has  been 
completely  discountenanced  in  this  skeptical, 
matter-of-fact  age ; and  I even  question 
whether  any  tender  virgin,  who  was  acciden- 
tally and  unaccountably  enriched  with  a 
bantling,  would  save  her  character  at  parlor 
firesides  and  evening  tea-parties  b}^  ascribing 
the  phenomenon  to  a swan,  a shower  of  gold, 
or  a river  god. 

Had  I the  benefit  of  mythology  and  classic 
fable  above  alluded  to,  I should  have  furnished 
the  first  of  the  trio  with  a pedigree  equal  to 
that  of  the  proudest  hero  of  antiquity.  His 
name.  Van  Zandt,  that  is  to  from  the  saiid, 
or,  in  common  parlance,  from  the  dirt,  gave 
reason  to  suppose  that,  like  Triptolemus, 
Themes,  the  Cyclops,  and  the  Titans,  he  had 
sprung  from  Dame  Terra,  on  the  earth  ! This 
supposition  is  strongly  corroborated  by  his  size, 
for  it  is  well  known  that  all  the  progeny  of 
mother  earth  were  of  a gigantic  stature  ; and 
Van  Zandt,  we  are  told,  was  a tall,  raw-boned 



B fbistor^  of  IRevv 

man,  above  six  feet  high,  with  an  astonish- 
ingly hard  head.  Nor  is  this  origin  of  the  il- 
lustrious Van  Zandt  a whit  more  improbable  or 
repugnant  to  belief  than  what  is  related  and 
universally  admitted  of  certain  of  our  greatest, 
or  rather  richest  men  ; who,  we  are  told  with 
the  utmost  gravity,  did  originally  spring  from 
a dunghill  ! 

Of  the  second  of  the  trio  but  faint  accounts 
have  reached  to  this  time,  which  mention  that 
he  was  a sturdy,  obstinate,  worrying,  bustling 
little  man  ; and,  from  being  usually  equipped 
in  an  old  pair  of  buckskins,  was  familiarly 
dubbed  Harden  Broeck  ; that  is  to  sa}",  Hard  in 
the  Breech,  or,  as  it  was  generally  rendered, 
Tough  Breeches. 

Ten  Broeck  completed  this  junto  of  adven- 
turers. It  is  a singular  but  ludicrous  fact, — 
which,  were  I not  scrupulous  in  recording  the 
whole  truth,  I should  almost  be  tempted  to 
pass  over  in  silence  as  incompatible  with  the 
gravity  and  dignity  of  histor}^ — that  this 
worthy  gentleman  should  likewise  have  been 
nicknamed  from  what  in  modern  times  is 
considered  the  most  ignoble  part  of  the 
dress.  But  in  truth  the  small-clothes  seems 
to  have  been  a ver}"  dignified  garment  in 
the  eyes  of  our  venerated  ancestors,  in  all 
probability  from  its  covering  that  part  of  the 

^Ten  JBroccf? 

body  jvhich  has  been  pronounced  ‘ ‘ the  seat 
of  honor.” 

The  name  of  Ten  Broeck,  or,  as  it  was 
sometimes  spelled,  Tin  Broeck,  has  been  in- 


differently  translated  into  Ten  Breeches  and 
Tin  Breeches.  Certain  elegant  and  ingenious 
writers  on  the  subject  declare  in  favor  of  Tin 
or  rather  Thin  Breeches  ; whence  they  infer 




B Ibistori?  of  IRcvv  ^ov\\ 

that  the  original  bearer  of  it  was  a poor  but 
merry  rogue,  whose  galligaskins  were  none  of 
the  soundest,  and  who,  peradventure,  may 
have  been  the  author  of  that  truly  philo- 
sophical stanza  : — 

“Then  why  should  we  quarrel  for  riches. 

Or  any  such  glittering  toys  ; 

A light  heart  and  thin  pair  of  breeches^ 

Will  go  through  the  world,  my  brave  boys  ! ” 

The  more  accurate  commentators,  however, 
declare  in  favor  of  the  other  reading,  and  af- 
firm that  the  worthy  in  question  was  a burly, 
bulbous  man,  who,  in  sheer  ostentation  of  his 
venerable  progenitors,  was  the  first  to  intro- 
duce into  the  settlement  the  ancient  Dutch 
fashion  of  ten  pair  of  breeches. 

Such  was  the  trio  of  coadjutors  chosen  by 
Oloffe  the  Dreamer  to  accompany  him  in  this 
voyage  into  unknown  realms  ; as  to  the  names 
of  his  crews,  they  have  not  been  handed  down 
by  history. 

Having,  as  I before  observ^ed,  passed  much 
of  his  life  in  the  open  air,  among  the  peripa- 
tetic philosophers  of  Amsterdam,  Oloffe  had 
become  familiar  with  the  aspect  of  the  heav- 
ens, and  could  as  accurately  determine  when 
a storm  was  brewing  or  a squall  rising,  as  a 
dutiful  husband  can  foresee,  from  the  brow  of 


Ipreparatione  for  tbc  Do^aGC 

his  spouse,  when  a tempest  is  gathering  about 
his  ears.  Having  pitched  upon  a time  for  his 
voyage  when  the  skies  appeared  propitious, 
he  exhorted  all  his  crews  to  take  a good 
night’s  rest,  wind  up  their  family  affairs,  and 
make  their  wills ; precautions  taken  by  our 
forefathers  even  in  after-times  when  they 
became  more  adventurous,  and  voyaged  to 
Haverstraw,  or  Kaatskill,  or  Groodt  Ksopus, 
or  any  other  far  country,  beyond  the  great 
waters  of  the  Tappaan  Zee. 

Cbapter  HID, 


ND  now  the  rosy  blush  of 
morn  began  to  mantle 
i - aV-  soon 

the  rising  sun,  emer- 
from  amidst  golden 
purple  clouds,  shed 
his  blithesome  rays  on 
weathercocks  of 
^ Communipaw.  It  was 
that  delicious  season  of 
the  year,  when  nature,  breaking  from  the 
chilling  thraldom  of  old  winter,  like  a bloom- 
ing damsel  from  the  tyranny  of  a sordid  old 
father,  threw  herself,  blushing  with  ten  thou- 
sand charms,  into  the  arms  of  youthful  spring. 
Every  tufted  copse  and  blooming  grove  re- 
sounded with  the  notes  of  hymeneal  love. 
The  very  insects,  as  the}"  sipped  the  dew  that 
gemmed  the  tender  grass  of  the  meadows. 

B 1bistori5  of  IRew  l^ork 

multitude  of  relatives  and  friends,  who  all  went 
down,  as  the  common  phrase  expresses  it,  “ to 
see  them  off.”  And  this  shows  the  antiquity, 
of  those  long  family  processions,  often  seen  in 
our  city,  composed  of  all  ages,  sizes,  and  sexes 
laden  with  bundles  and  bandboxes,  escorting 
some  bevy  of  country  cousins,  about  to  depart 
for  home  in  a market-boat. 

The  good  Oloffe  bestowed  his  forces  in  a 
squadron  of  three  canoes,  and  hoisted  his  flag 
on  board  a little  round  Dutch  boat,  shaped  not 
unlike  a tub,  which  had  formerly  been  the 
jolly-boat  of  the  Goede  Vrouw.  And  now,  all 
being  embarked,  they  bade  farewell  to  the  gaz- 
ing throng  upon  the  beach,  who  continued 
shouting  after  them,  even  when  out  of  hearing, 
wishing  them  a happy  voyage,  advising  them 
to  take  good  care  of  themselves,  not  to  get 
drowned,  with  an  abundance  other  of  those 
sage  and  invaluable  cautions,  generally  given 
by  landsmen  to  such  as  go  down  to  the  sea  in 
ships,  and  adventure  upon  the  deep  w^aters. 
In  the  meanwhile  the  voyagers  cheerily  urged 
their  course  across  the  crystal  bosom  of  the 
bay,  and  soon  left  behind  them  the  green  shores 
of  ancient  Pavonia. 

And  first  they  touched  at  two  small  islands 
which  lay  nearly  opposite  Communipaw,  and 
which  are  said  to  have  been  brought  into  ex- 

1bow  tbe  1[6lanb6  Came 

istence  about  the  time  of  the  great  irruption  of 
the  Hudson,  when  it  broke  through  the  High- 
lands and  made  its  way  to  the  ocean.*  For  in 
this  tremendous  uproar  of  the  waters,  we  are 
told  that  many  huge  fragments  of  rock  and 
land  were  rent  from  the  mountains  and  swept 
down  by  this  runaway  river,  for  sixty  or  sev- 
enty miles  ; where  some  of  them  ran  aground 


on  the  shoals  just  opposite  Communipaw,  and 
formed  the  identical  islands  in  question,  while 
others  drifted  out  to  sea,  and  were  never  heard 
of  more  ! A sufficient  proof  of  the  fact  is,  that 
* It  is  a matter  long  since  established  by  certain  of 
our  philosophers, — that  is  to  say,  having  been  often 
advanced,  and  never  contradicted,  it  has  grown  to  be 
pretty  nigh  equal  to  a settled  fact, — that  the  Hudson 


i6o  B 1bi8tor^  of  IRcw  l^ork 

the  rock  which  forms  the  basis  of  these  islands 
is  exactl}^  similar  to  that  of  the  Highlands,  and, 
moreover,  one  of  our  philosophers,  who  has 
diligently  compared  the  agreement  of  their 
respective  surfaces,  has  even  gone  so  far  as  to 
assure  me,  in  confidence,  that  Gibbet  Island 
was  originally  nothing  more  nor  less  then  a 
wart  on  Anthony’s  Nose.* 

Leaving  these  wonderful  little  isles,  they 
next  coasted  by  Governor’s  Island  since  terrible 
from  its  frowning  fortress  and  grinning  batter- 
ies. They  would  by  no  means,  however,  land 
upon  this  island,  since  they  doubted  much  it 
might  be  the  abode  of  demons  and  spirits, 
which  in  those  days  did  greatly  abound 
throughout  this  savage  and  pagan  country. 

Just  at  this  time  a shoal  of  jolly  porpoises 
came  rolling  and  tumbling  by,  turning  up 

was  originally  a lake  dammed  up  by  the  mountains  of 
the  Highlands.  In  process  of  time,  however,  becom- 
ing very  mighty  and  obstreperous,  and  the  mountains 
waxing  pursy,  dropsical,  and  weak  in  the  back,  by 
reason  of  their  extreme  old  age,  it  suddenly  rose  upon 
them,  and  after  a violent  struggle  effected  its  escape. 
This  is  said  to  have  come  to  pass  in  very  remote  time, 
probably  before  rivers  had  lost  the  art  of  running 
uphill.  The  foregoing  is  a theory  in  which  I do  not 
pretend  to  be  skilled,  notwithstanding  that  I do  fully 
give  it  my  belief. 

* A promontory  in  the  Highlands. 

B IbappB  ©men 

their  sleek  sides  to  the  sun,  and  spouting  up 
the  briny  element  in  sparkling  showers.  No 
sooner  did  the  sage  Oloffe  mark  this,  than  he 
was  greatly  rejoiced.  “This,”  exclaimed  he, 
“ if  I mistake  not,  augurs  well  : the  porpoise 
is  a fat,  well-conditioned  fish, — a burgomaster 


among  fishes, — his  looks  betoken  ease,  plenty, 
and  prosperity  ; I greatly  admire  this  round  fat 
fish,  and  doubt  not  but  this  is  a happy  omen 
of  the  success  of  our  undertaking.”  So  saying, 
he  directed  his  squadron  to  steer  in  the  track  of 
these  alderman  fishes. 

Turning,  therefore,  directly  to  the  left,  they 

VOL.  I. — II 


B 1bistori5  of  flew  l^ork 

swept  up  the  strait  vulgarly  called  East  River., 
And  here  the  rapid  tide  which  courses  through 
this  strait,  seizing  on  the  gallant  tub  in  w^hich 
Commodore  Van  Kortlandt  had  embarked, 
hurried  it  forward  with  a velocity  unparalleled 
in  a Dutch  boat,  navigated  by  Dutchmen  ; in- 
somuch that  the  good  commodore,  who  had  all 
his  life  long  been  accustomed  only  to  the  drowsy 
navigation  of  canals,  was  more  than  ever  con- 
vinced that  they  were  in  the  hands  of  some 
supernatural  power,  and  that  the  jolly  por- 
poises were  towing  them  to  some  fair  haven 
that  was  to  fulfil  all  their  wishes  and  expecta- 

Thus  borne  away  by  the  resistless  current, 
they  doubled  that  boisterous  point  of  land  since 
called  Corlear’s  Hook  * and  leaving  to  the  right 
the  rich  winding  cove  of  the  Wallabout,  they 
drifted  into  a magnificent  expanse  of  water, 
surrounded  by  pleasant  shores,  whose  verdure 
was  exceedingly  refreshing  to  the  e3"e.  While 
the  voyagers  were  looking  around  them,  on 
what  they  conceived  to  be  a serene  and  sunny 
lake,  they  beheld  at  a distance  a crew  of  painted 
savages,  busily  employed  in  fishing,  who  seemed 
more  like  the  genii  of  this  romantic  region, — 
their  slender  canoe  lightly  balanced  like  a_ 
feather  on  the  undulated  surface  of  the  bay. 

* Properly  spelt  hoeck  {i.  e.,  a point  of  land). 


•ff^enOrick  1kip 

At  sight  of  these  the  hearts  of  the  heroes  of 
Communipaw  were  not  a little  troubled.  But 
as  good  fortune  would  have  it,  at  the  bow  of 
the  commodore’s  boat  was  stationed  a very 



valiant  man,  named  Hendrick  Kip  (which, 
being  interpreted,  means  chicken,  a name  given 
him  in  token  of  his  courage).  No  sooner  did 
he  behold  these  varlet  heathens  than  he  trem- 




B Ibietors  of  IRew  J^orl^ 

bled  with  excessive  valor,  and  although  a good 
half-mile  distant,  he  seized  a musketoon  that 
lay  at  hand,  and  turning  away  his  head,  fired 
it  most  intrepidly  in  the  face  of  the  blessed 
sun.  The  blundering  weapon  recoiled  and 
gave  the  valiant  Kip  an  ignominious  kick, 
which  laid  him  prostrate  with  uplifted  heels 
in  the  bottom  of  the  boat.  But  such  was  the 
effect  of  this  tremendous  fire,  that  the  wild  men 
of  the  woods,  struck  with  consternation,  seized 
hastily  upon  their  paddles,  and  shot  away  into 
one  of  the  deep  inlets  of  the  Long  Island  shore. 

This  signal  victory  gave  new  spirits  to  the 
voyagers  ; and  in  honor  of  the  achievement 
they  gave  the  name  of  the  valiant  Kip  to  the 
surrounding  ba}',  and  it  has  continued  to  be 
called  Kip’s  Ba}^  from  that  time  to  the  present. 
The  heart  of  the  good  Van  Kortlandt — who, 
having  no  land  of  his  own,  was  a great  admirer 
of  other  people’s — expanded  to  the  full  size  of  a 
pepper-corn  at  the  sumptuous  prospect  of  rich 
unsettled  country  around  him,  and  falling  into 
a delicious  revery,  he  straightway  began  to  riot 
in  the  possession  of  vast  meadows  of  salt 
marsh  and  interminable  patches  of  cabbages. 
From  this  delectable  vision  he  was  all  at  once 
awakened  by  the  sudden  turning  of  the  tide, 
which  would  soon  have  hurried  him  from  this 
land  of  promise,  had  not  the  discreet  navigator 



' 1) 

U 2)i6CU06lon 


given  signal  to  steer  for  shore  ; where  they 
accordingly  landed  hard  by  the  rocky  heights 
of  Bellevue, — that  happy  retreat,  where  our 
jolly  alderman  eat  for  the  good  of  the  city,  and 
fatten  the  turtle  that  are  sacrificed  on  civic 

Here,  seated  on  the  greensward,  by  the  side 
of  a small  stream  that  ran  sparkling  among  the 
grass,  they  refreshed  themselves  after  the  toils 
of  the  seas,  by  feasting  lustily  on  the  ample 
stores  which  they  had  provided  for  this  perilous 
voyage.  Thus  having  well  fortified  their 
deliberative  powers,  they  fell  into  an  earnest 
consultation,  what  was  further  to  be  done. 
This  was  the  first  council-dinner  ever  eaten  at 
Bellevue  by  Christian  burghers  ; and  here,  as 
tradition  relates,  did  originate  the  great  family 
feud  between  the  Harden  Broecks  and  the 
Ten  Broecks,  which  afterwards  had  a singular 
influence  on  the  building  of  the  city.  The 
sturdy  Harden  Broeck,  whose  eyes  had  been 
wondrously  delighted  with  the  salt  marshes 
which  spread  their  reeking  bosoms  along  the 
coast,  at  the  bottom  of  Kip’s  Bay,  counselled 
by  all  means  to  return  thither,  and  found  the 
intended  city.  This  was  strenuously  opposed 
by  the  unbending  Ten  Broeck,  and  many  testy 
arguments  passed  between  them.  The  partic- 
ulars of  this  controversy  have  not  reached  us. 


21  Iblstor^  of  Bew  ^ovn 

which  is  ever  to  be  lamented  ; this  much  is  cer- 
tain, that  the  sage  OlofFe  put  an  end  to  the  dis- 
pute by  determining  to  explore  still  farther  in 
the  route  which  the  mysterious  porpoises  had 
so  clearly  pointed  out ; — whereupon  the  sturdy 
Tough  Breeches  abandoned  the  expedition, 
took  possession  of  a neighboring  hill,  and  in 
a fit  of  great  wrath  peopled  all  that  tract  of 
countr)^,  which  has  continued  to  be  inhabited 
by  the  Harden  Broecks  unto  this  ver}"  day. 

By  this  time  the  jolly  Phoebus,  like  some 
wanton  urchin  sporting  on  the  side  of  a green 
hill,  began  to  roll  down  the  declivity  of  the 
heavens  ; and  now,  the  tide  having  once  more 
turned  in  their  favor,  the  Pavonians  again 
committed  themselves  to  its  discretion,  and 
coasting  along  the  western  shores,  were  borne 
towards  the  straits  of  Blackwell’s  Island. 

And  here  the  capricious  wanderings  of 
the  current  occasioned  not  a little  marvel 
and  perplexity  to  these  illustrious  mariners. 
Now  would  they  be  caught  by  the  wanton 
eddies,  and,  sweeping  round  a jutting  point, 
would  wind  deep  into  some  romantic  little  cove, 
that  indented  the  fair  island  of  Mannahatta  ; 
now  were  they  hurried  narrowly  by  the  very 
bases  of  impending  rocks,  mantled  with  the 
flaunting  grape-vine,  and  crowned  with  groves 
which  threw  a broad  shade  on  the  waves 


‘Wllitcbing  Scenes 


beneath  ; and  anon  they  were  borne  away  into 
the  mid-channel  and  wafted  along  with  a 
rapidity  that  very  much  discomposed  the  sage 
Van  Kortlandt,  who,  as  he  saw  the  land  swiftly 
receding  on  either  side,  began  exceedingly  to 
doubt  that  terra  firma  was  giving  them  the 

Wherever  the  voyagers  turned  their  eyes,  a 
new  creation  seemed  to  bloom  around.  No 
signs  of  human  thrift  appeared  to  check  the 
delicious  wildness  of  nature,  who  here  revelled 
in  all  her  luxuriant  variety.  Those  hills,  now 
bri.stled,  like  the  fretful  porcupine,  with  rows 
of  poplars,  (vain  upstart  plants  ! minions  of 
wealth  and  fashion  !)  were  then  adorned  with* 
the  vigorous  natives  of  the  soil : the  lordly  oak, 
the  generous  chestnut,  the  graceful  elm, — 
while  here  and  there  the  tulip-tree  reared  its 
majestic  head,  the  giant  of  the  forest.  Where 
now  are  seen  the  gay  retreats  of  luxury, — 
villas  half  buried  in  twilight  bowers,  whence 
the  amorous  flute  oft  breathes  the  sighings  of 
some  city  swain, — there  the  flsh-hawk  built  his 
• solitary  nest  on  some  dry  tree  that  overlooked 
his  watery  domain.  The  timid  deer  fed  undis- 
turbed along  those  shores  now  hallowed  by 
the  lovers’  moonlight  walk,  and  printed  by  the 
slender  foot  of  beauty  ; and  a savage  solitude 
-extended  over  those  happy  regions,  where  now 


are  reared  the  stately  towers  of  the  Joneses,  the 
Schermerhornes,  and  the  Rhinelanders. 

Thus  gliding  in  silent  wonder  through  these 
new  and  unknown  scenes,  the  gallant  squadron 
of  Pavonia  swept  by  the  foot  of  a promontory, 
which  strutted  forth  boldly  into  the  waves, 
and  seemed  to  frown  upon  them  as  they  brawled 
against  its  base.  This  is  the  bluff  well  known 
to  modern  mariners  by  the  name  of  Gracie’s 
Point,  from  the  fair  castle  which,  like  an  ele- 
phant, it  carries  upon  its  back.  And  here 
broke  upon  their  view  a wild  and  varied  pros- 
pect, where  land  and  water  were  beauteously 
intermingled,  as  though  they  had  combined  to 
heighten  and  set  off  each  other’s  charms.  To 
the  right  la}^  the  sedgy  point  of  Blackwell’s 
Island,  dressed  in  the  fresh  garniture  of  living 
green, — beyond  it  stretched  the  pleasant  coast 
of  Sundswick,  and  the  small  harbor  well  known 
by  the  name  of  Hallet’s  Cove, — a place  infa- 
mous in  latter  days,  by  reason  of  its  being  the 
haunt  of  pirates  who  infest  these  seas,  robbing 
orchards  and  watermelon  patches,  and  insult- 
ing gentlemen  navigators,  when  voyaging  in 
their  pleasure-boats.  To  the  left  a deep  bay, 
or  rather  creek,  gracefully  receded  between 
shores  fringed  with  forests,  and  forming  a kind 
of  vista,  through  which  were  beheld  the  sylvan 
regions  of  Haerlem,  Morrisania,  and  East 


‘imiltcbing  Scenes 

Chester.  Here  the  eye  reposed  with  delight 
on  a richly  wooded  country,  diversified  by 
tufted  knolls,  shadowy  intervals,  and  waving 
lines  of  upland,  swelling  above  each  other, 
while  over  the  whole  the  purple  mists  of 
spring  diffused  a hue  of  soft  voluptuousness. 


Just  before  them  the  grand  course  of  the 
stream,  making  a sudden  bend,  wound  among 
embowered  promontories  and  shores  of  emerald 
verdure,  that  seemed  to  melt  into  the  wave.  A 
character  of  gentleness  and  mild  fertility  pre- 


B Ibistors  ot  IRcvv 

vailed  around.  The  sun  had  just  descended, 
and  the  thin  haze  of  twilight,  like  a transparent 
veil  drawn  over  the  bosom  of  virgin  beauty, 
heightened  the  charms  which  it  half  con- 

Ah  ! witching  scenes  of  foul  delusion.  Ah  ! 
hapless  voyagers,  gazing  with  simple  wonder 
on  these  Circean  shores ! Such,  alas  ! are 
they,  poor  easy  souls,  who  listen  to  the  seduc- 
tions of  a wicked  world, — treacherous  are  its 
smiles  ! fatal  its  caresses.  He  who  yields  to 
its  enticements  launches  upon  a whelming  tide, 
and  trusts  his  feeble  bark  among  the  dimpling 
eddies  of  a whirlpool  ! And  thus  it  fared  with 
the  worthies  of  Pavonia,  who,  little  mistrusting 
the  guileful  scenes  before  them,  drifted  quietly 
on,  until  they  were  aroused  by  an  uncommon 
tossing  and  agitation  of  their  vessels.  For  now 
the  late  dimpling  current  began  to  brawl  around 
them,  and  the  waves  to  boil  and  foam  with 
horrific  fury.  Awakened  as  if  from  a dream, 
the  astonished  OlofFe  bawled  aloud  to  put 
about,  but  his  words  were  lost  amid  the  roar- 
ing of  the  waters.  And  now  ensued  a scene 
•of  direful  consternation.  At  one  time  they 
were  borne  with  dreadful  velocity  among  tu- 
multuous breakers ; at  another,  hurried  down 
boisterous  rapids.  Now  they  were  nearly 
dashed  upon  the  Hen  and  Chickens  (infamous 



B Ibistor^  of  IRew  l^orft 

rocks  ! — more  voracious  than  Scylla  and  her 
whelps),  and  anon  they  seemed  sinking  into 
yawning  gulfs,  that  threatened  to  entomb  them 
beneath  the  waves.  All  the  elements  combined 
to  produce  a hideous  confusion.  The  waters 
raged,  the  winds  howled  ; and  as  they  were 
hurried  along,  several  of  the  astonished  mari- 
ners beheld  the  rocks  and  trees  of  the  neighbor- 
ing shores  driving  through  the  air  ! 

At  length  the  mighty  tub  of  Commodore 
Van  Kortlandt  was  drawn  into  the  vortex  of 
that  tremendous  whirlpool  called  the  Pot, 
where  it  was  whirled  about  in  giddy  mazes, 
until  the  senses  of  the  good  commander  and 
his  crew  were  overpowered  by  the  horror  of  the 
scene,  and  the  strangeness  of  the  revolution. 

How  the  gallant  squadron  of  Pavonia  was 
snatched  from  the  jaws  of  this,  modern  Cha- 
rybdis,  has  never  been  truly  made  known,  for 
so  many  survived  to  tell  the  tale,  and,  what  is 
still  more  wonderful,  told  it  in  so  many  differ- 
ent ways,  that  there  has  ever  prevailed  a great 
variety  of  opinions  on  the  subject. 

As  to  the  commodore  and  his  crew,  when 
they  came  to  their  senses,  they  found  them- 
selves stranded  on  the  Long  Island  .shore. 
The  worthy  commodore,  indeed,  used  to  relate 
many  and  wonderful  stories  of  his  adventures 
in  this  time  of  peril : how  that  he  saw  spectres 

flying  in  the  air,  and  heard  the  yelling  of 
hobgoblins,  and  put  his  hand  into  the  pot 
when  they  were  whirled  round,  and  found  the 
water  scalding  hot,  and  beheld  several  uncouth- 
looking beings  seated  on  rocks  and  skimming 
it  with  huge  ladles  ; but  particularly  he  declared 
with  great  exultation,  that  he  saw  the  losel 


porpoises,  which  had  betra3^ed  them  into  this 
peril,  some  broiling  on  the  Gridiron,  and  others 
hissing  on  the  Frying-pan  ! 

These,  however,  were  considered  by  many 
as  mere  fantasies  of  the  commodore,  while  he 


B Ibistor^  of  Bew  lork 

lay  in  a trance  ; especially  as  lie  was  known  to 
be  given  to  dreaming ; and  the  truth  of  them 
has  never  been  clearly  ascertained.  It  is  cer- 
tain, however,  that  to  the  accounts  of  Oloffe 
and  his  followers  may  be  traced  the  various, 
traditions  handed  down  of  this  marvellous 
strait : as  how  the  devil  has  been  seen  there, 
sitting  astride  of  the  Hog’s  Back  and  playing 
on  the  fiddle,— how  he  broils  fish  there  before 
a storm  ; and  many  other  stories  in  which  we 
must  be  cautious  of  putting  too  much  faith. 
In  consequence  of  all  these  terrific  circum- 
stances, the  Pavonian  commander  gave  this 
pass  the  name  of  Helle-gat,  or,  as  it  has  been 
interpreted,  Hell-Gate'^  ; which  it  continues  to 
bear  at  the  present  day. 

* This  is  a narrow  strait  in  the  Sound,  at  the  dis- 
tance of  six  miles  above  New  York.  It  is  dangerous 
to  shipping,  unless  under  the  care  of  skilful  pilots, 
by  reason  of  numerous  rocks,  shelves,  and  whirlpools. 
These  have  received  sundry  appellations,  such  as  the 
Gridiron,  Frying-pan,  Hog’s  Back,  Pot,  etc.,  and  are 
very  violent  and  turbulent  at  certain  times  of  tide. 
Certain  mealy-mouthed  men,  of  squeamish  conscien- 
ces, who  are  loth  to  give  the  Devil  his  due,  have 
softened  the  above  characteristic  name  into  Hurl- 
gate^  forsooth  ! Let  those  take  care  how  they  venture 
into  the  Gate,  or  they  may  be  hurled  into  the  Pot 
before  they  are  aware  of  it.  The  name  of  this  strait, 
as  given  by  our  author,  is  supported  by  the  map  in 

Vander  Donck’s  History,  published  in  1656, — by 
Ogilvie’s  History  of  America,  1671, — as  also  by  a 
journal  still  extant,  written  in  the  sixteenth  century, 
and  to  be  found  in  Hazard’s  State  Papers.  And  an 
old  MS.  written  in  French,  speaking  of  various 
alterations  in  names  about  this  city,  observes,  “ De 
Hell-gate,  trou  d’Eufer  ils  ont  fait  Hell-gate,  Porte 

Chapter  ID. 


' ' sailed  with  the  raging 

of  the  elements,  and 
the  howling  of  the  hob- 
goblins that  infested  this  perfidious  strait.  But 
when  the  morning  dawned,  the  horrors  of  the 
preceding  evening  had  passed  away  ; rapids, 
breakers,  and  whirlpools  had  disappeared  ; the 
stream  again  ran  smooth  and  dimpling,  and 
having  changed  its  tide,  rolled  gently  back, 
towards  the  quarter  where  lay  their  much- 
regretted  home. 

Zbc  jfatc  of  tbe  ^travellers 


The  woe-begone  heroes  of  Communipaw 
eyed  each  other  with  rueful  countenances ; 
their  squadron  had  been  totally  dispersed  by 
the  late  disaster.  Some  were  cast  upon  the 
western  shore,  where,  headed  by  one  Ruleff 
Hopper,  they  took  possession  of  all  the  coun- 
try l3dng  about  the  six-mile  stone  ; which  is 
held  by  the  Hoppers  at  this  present  writing. 

The  Waldrons  were  driven  by  strevSS  of 
weather  to  a distant  coast,  where,  having  with 
them  a jug  of  genuine  Hollands,  they  were 
enabled  to  conciliate  the  savages,  setting  up  a 
kind  of  tavern  ; whence,  it  is  said,  did  spring 
the  fair  town  of  Haerlem,  in  which  their  de- 
scendants have  ever  since  continued  to  be 
reputable  publicans.  As  to  the  Suydams,  they 
were  thrown  upon  the  lyong  Island  coast,  and 
may  still  be  found  in  those  parts.  But  the 
most  singular  luck  attended  the  great  Ten 
Broeck,  who,  falling  overboard,  was  miracu- 
lously preserved  from  sinking  by  the  multi- 
tude of  his  nether  garments.  Thus  buoyed 
up,  he  floated  on  the  waves  like  a merman,  or 
like  an  angler’s  dobber,  until  he  landed  safely 
on  a rock,  where  he  was  found  the  next  morn- 
ing, busily  drying  his  many  breeches  in  the 

I forbear  to  treat  of  the  long  consultation 
of  Oloffe  with  his  remaining  followers,  in 

VOL.  I — 12 


B Ibistor^  of  IRew  lorft 

which  they  determined  that  it  would  never 
do  to  found  a city  in  so  diabolical  a neigh- 
borhood. Suffice  it  in  simple  brevity  to  say, 
that  they  once  more  committed  themselves, 
with  fear  and  trembling,  to  the  briny  ele- 
ments, and  steered  their  course  back  again 
through  the  scenes  of  their  yesterday’s  voy- 
age, determined  no  longer  to  roam  in  search 
of  distant  sites,  but  to  settle  themselves  down 
in  the  marshy  regions  of  Pavonia. 

Scarce,  however,  had  they  gained  a distant 
view  of  Communipaw,  when  they  were  en- 
countered by  an  obstinate  eddy,  which  opposed 
their  homeward  voyage.  Weary  and  dispirited 
as  the}^  were,  they  yet  tugged  a feeble  oar 
against  the  stream  ; until,  as  if  to  settle  the 
strife,  half  a score  of  potent  billows  rolled  the 
tub  of  Commodore  Van  Kortlandt  high  and 
dry  on  the  long  point  of  an  island  which  di- 
vided the  bosom  of  the  bay. 

Some  pretend  that  these  billows  were  sent 
by  old  Neptune  to  strand  the  expedition  on  a 
spot  whereon  was  to  be  founded  his  stronghold 
in  this  western  world  ; others,  more  pious,  at- 
tribute everything  to  the  guardianship  of  the 
good  St.  Nicholas  ; and  after-events  will  be 
found  to  corroborate  this  opinion.  Oloffe  Van 
Kortlandt  was  a devout  trencherman.  Every 
repast  was  a kind  of  religious  rite  with  him  ; 

B Solemn  JBanauct 

and  his  first  thought  on  finding  himself  once 
more  on  dry  ground,  was,  how  he  should  con- 
trive to  celebrate  his  wonderful  escape  from  Hell- 
gate  and  all  its  horrors  by  a solemn  banquet. 
The  stores  which  had  been  provided  for  the 
voyage  by  the  good  housewives  of  Communipaw 


were  nearly  exhausted,  but,  in  casting  his  eyes 
about,  the  commodore  beheld  that  the  shore 
abounded  with  oysters.  A great  store  of 
these  was  instantly  collected  ; a fire  was  made 
at  the  foot  of  a tree  ; all  hands  fell  to  roasting 
and  broiling  and  stewing  and  frying,  and  a 


sumptuous  repast  was  soon  set  forth.  This 
is  thought  to  be  the  origin  of  those  civic 
feasts  with  which,  to  the  present  day,  all  our 
public  affairs  are  celebrated,  and  in  which  the 
03'ster  is  ever  sure  to  play  an  important  part. 

On  the  present  occasion,  the  worthy  Van 
Kortlandt  was  observed  to  be  particularly 
zealous  in  his  devotions  to  the  trencher  ; for 
having  the  cares  of  the  expedition  especiall}^ 
committed  to  his  care,  he  deemed  it  incumbent 
on  him  to  eat  profoundly  for  the  public  good. 
In  proportion  as  he  filled  himself  to  the  very 
brim  with  the  dainty  viands  before  him,  did 
the  heart  of  this  excellent  burgher  rise  up 
towards  his  throat,  until  he  seemed  crammed 
and  almost  choked  with  good  eating  and  good- 
nature. And  at  such  times  it  is,  when  a man’s 
heart  is  in  his  throat,  that  he  may  more  truly 
be  said  to  speak  from  it,  and  his  speeches 
abound  with  kindness  and  good  fellowship. 
Thus  having  swallowed  the  last  possible  mor- 
sel, and  washed  it  down  with  a fervent  pota- 
tion, Oloffe  felt  his  heart  yearning,  and  his 
whole  frame  in  a manner  dilating  with  un- 
bounded benevolence.  Everything  around 
him  seemed  excellent  and  delightful  ; and 
laying  his  hands  on  each  side  of  his  capaciousV 
periphery,  and  rolling  his  half-closed  eyes 
around  on  the  beautiful  diversity  of  land  and 

©loffe'0  Strange  Dream 

water  before  him,  he  exclaimed,  in  a fat  half- 
smothered  voice,  “ What  a charming  pros- 
pect ! ’ ’ The  words  died  away  in  his  throat, 
— he  seemed  to  ponder  on  the  fair  scene  for  a 
moment, — his  eyelids  heavily  closed  over  their 


orbs, — his  head  drooped  upon  his  bosom, — he 
slowly  sank  upon  the  green  turf,  and  a deep 
sleep  stole  gradually  over  him. 

And  the  sage  Oloffe  dreamed  a dream, — and 
lo,  the  good  St.  Nicholas  came  riding  over  the 
tops  of  the  trees,  in  that  self-same  wagon 
wherein  he  brings  his  yearly  presents  to  chil- 






B 1bl9tor^  of  IRew  l^ort? 

dren,  and  he  descended  hard  by  where  the 
heroes  of  Communipaw  had  made  their  late 
repast.  And  he  lit  his  pipe  by  the  fire,  and 
sat  himself  down  and  smoked ; and  as  he 
smoked,  the  smoke  from  his  pipe  ascended 
into  the  air  and  spread  like  a cloud  overhead. 
And  Oloffe  bethought  him,  and  he  hastened 
and  climbed  up  to  the  top  of  one  of  the  tall- 
est trees,  and  saw  that  the  smoke  spread  over 
a great  extent  of  country  ; and  as  he  consid- 
ered it  more  attentivel}^,  he  fancied  that  the 
great  volume  of  smoke  assumed  a variety  of 
marvellous  forms,  where  in  dim  obscurity  he 
saw  shadowed  out  palaces  and  domes  and  lofty 
spires,  all  of  which  lasted  but  a moment,  and 
then  faded  away,  until  the  whole  rolled  off, 
and  nothing  but  the  green  woods  were  left. 
And  when  St.  Nicholas  had  smoked  his  pipe, 
he  twisted  it  in  his  hatband,  and  laying  his  fin- 
ger beside  his  nose,  gave  the  astonished  Van 
Kortlandt  a very  significant  look  ; then,  mount- 
ing his  wagon,  he  returned  over  the  tree-tops 
and  disappeared. 

And  Van  Kortlandt  awoke  from  his  sleep 
greatly  instructed ; and  he  aroused  his  com- 
panions and  related  to  them  his  dream,  and 
interpreted  it,  that  it  was  the  will  of  St.  Nicho- 
las that  they  should  settle  down  and  build  the 
city  here  ; and  that  the  smoke  of  the  pipe  was 

B 1bapp^  IRetuni 


a type  how  vast  would  be  the  extent  of  the 
city,  inasmuch  as  the  volumes  of  its  smoke 
would  spread  over  a wide  extent  of  country. 
And  they  all  with  one  voice  assented  to  this 
interpretation,  excepting  Mynheer  Ten  Broeck, 
who  declared  the  meaning  to  be  that  it  would 
be  a city  wherein  a little  fire  would  occasion 
a great  smoke,  or,  in  other  words,  a very  va- 
poring little  city  ; — both  which  interpretations 
have  strangely  come  to  pass  ! 

The  great  object  of  their  perilous  expedition, 
therefore,  being  thus  happily  accomplished, 
the  voyagers  returned  merrily  to  Communi- 
paw — where  they  were  received  with  great 
rejoicings.  And  here,  calling  a general  meet- 
ing of  all  the  wise  men  and  the  dignitaries  of 
Pavonia,  they  related  the  whole  history  of 
their  voyage,  and  of  the  dream  of  Oloffe  Van 
Kortlandt.  And  the  people  lifted  up  their 
voices  and  blessed  the  good  St.  Nicholas  ; and 
from  that  time  forth  the  sage  Van  Kortlandt 
was  held  in  more  honor  than  ever,  for  his 
great  talent  at  dreaming,  and  was  pronounced 
a most  useful  citizen  and  a right  good  man — 
when  he  was  asleep. 


Chapter  IDU 


HE  original  name  of 
the  island,  whereon  the 
squadron  of  Communi- 
paw  was  thus  propi- 
tiously thrown,  is  a mat- 
ter of  some  dispute,  and 
has  already  undergone 
considerable  vitiation, — 
a melancholy  proof  of 
the  instability  of  all  sub- 
and  the 

lunary  things, 
vanity  of  all  our  hopes  of  lasting  fame ; for 
who  can  expect  his  name  will  live  to  posterity, 
when  even  the  names  of  mighty  islands  are 
thus  soon  lost  in  contradiction  and  uncer- 
tainty ! 

The  name  most  current  at  the  present  day, 
and  which  is  likewise  countenanced  by  the 
great  historian  Vander  Donck,  is  Manhat- 

lDariou0  JEt^moloQies 


TAN  ; which  is  said  to  have  originated  in  a 
custom  among  the  squaws,  in  the  early  settle- 
tlement,  of  wearing  men’s  hats,  as  is  still  done 
among  many  tribes.  “ Hence,”  as  we  are  told 
by  an  old  governor  who  was  somewhat  of  a 
wag,  and  flourished  almost  a century  since, 
and  had  paid  a visit  to  the  wits  of  Phil- 
adelphia,— “hence  arose  the  appellation  of 
man-hat-on,  first  given  to  the  Indians,  and 
afterwards  to  the  island,” — a stupid  joke  ! 
but  well  enough  for  a governor. 

Among  the  more  venerable  sources  of  in- 
formation on  this  subject  is  that  valuable 
history  of  the  American  possessions,  written 
by  Master  Richard  Blome,  in  1687,  wherein 
it  is  called  Manhadaes  and  Manahanent ; nor 
must  I forget  the  excellent  little  book,  full 
of  precious  matter,  of  that  authentic  historian 
John  Josselyn,  Gent.,  who  expressly  calls  it 

Another  etymology,  still  more  ancient,  and 
sanctioned  by  the  countenance  of  our  ever-to- 
be-lamented  Dutch  ancestors,  is  that  found  in 
certain  letters  still  extant,  * which  passed 
between  the  early  governors  and  their  neigh- 
boring powers,  wherein  it  is  called  indiffer- 
ently Monhattoes,  Munhatos,  and  Manhattoes, 
which  are  evidently  unimportant  variations  of 
* Vide^  Hazard’s  Col.  Slat.  Pap. 

1 86 

B Ibietorg  of  Bew  l^orft 

the  same  name  ; for  our  wise  forefathers  set 
little  store  by  those  niceties  either  in  orthog- 
raphy or  orthoepy,  which  form  the  sole  study 
and  ambition  of  many  learned  men  and  women 
of  this  hypercritical  age.  This  last  name  is 
said  to  be  derived  from  the  great  Indian 
spirit  Manetho,  who  was  supposed  to  make 
this  island  his  favorite  abode,  on  account  of 
its  uncommon  delights.  For  the  Indian  tradi- 
tions affirm  that  the  bay  was  once  a translucid 
lake,  filled  with  silver  and  golden  fish,  in  the 
midst  of  which  lay  this  beautiful  island,  cov- 
ered with  every  variety  of  fruits  and  flowers ; 
but  that  the  sudden  irruption  of  the  Hudson 
laid  waste  these  blissful  scenes,  and  Manetho 
took  his  flight  beyond  the  great  waters  of 

These,  however,  are  very  fabulous  legends,  to 
which  very  cautious  credence  must  be  given  ; 
and  though  I am  willing  to  admit  the  last- 
quoted  orthography  of  the  name  as  very  fit  for 
prose,  yet  is  there  another  which  I peculiarly 
delight  in,  as  at  once  poetical,  melodious,  and 
significant,  and  which  we  have  on  the  au- 
thority of  Master  Juet,  who,  in  his  account 
of  the  voyage  of  the  great  Hudson,  calls  this 
Manna-hata,  that  is  to  say,  the  island  of 
manna,  or,  in  other  words,  a land  flowing  with 
milk  and  honey. 


IDarious  Bti^molOQics 

Still,  my  deference  to  the  learned  obliges  me 
to  notice  the  opinion  of  the  worthy  Dominie 
Heckwelder,  which  ascribes  the  name  to  a 
great  drunken  bout  held  on  the  island  by  the 


Dutch  discoverers,  whereat  they  made  certain 
of  the  natives  most  ecstatically  drunk  for 
the  first  time  in  their  lives ; who,  being  de- 
lighted with  their  jovial  entertainment,  gave 

B Ibistor^  of  IRcw  l^ork 

the  place  the  name  of  Mannahattanink,  that 
is  to  say,  The  Island  of  Jolly  Topers  : a name 
which  it  continues  to  merit  to  the  present 

* MSS.  of  the  Rev.  John  Heckwelder,  in  the  ar- 
chives of  the  New  York  Historical  Society. 

Chapter  MU 


h r'  T having  been  solemnly 
resolved  that  the  seat 
( ' ^ of  empire  should  be  re- 

moved  from  the  green 
f \!>  shores  of  Pavonia  to 

the  pleasant  island  of 
/{^  Manna-hata,  everybody 

/ 1'  I / 1 was  anxious  to  embark 

under  the  standard  of 
Oloffe  the  Dreamer,  and 
to  be  among  the  first 
sharers  of  the  promised  land.  A day  was  ap- 
pointed for  the  grand  migration,  and  on  that 
day  little  Communipaw  was  in  a buzz  and  a 
bustle  like  a hive  in  swarming-time.  Houses 
were  turned  inside  out  and  stripped  of  the 
venerable  furniture  which  had  come  from 
Holland  ; all  the  community,  great  and  small. 

' V 

black  and  white,  man,  woman,  and  child,  was 
in  commotion,  forming  lines  from  the  houses 
to  the  water-side,  like  lines  of  ants  from  an 
ant-hill  ; everybody  laden  w’ith  vSome  article  of 
household  furniture  ; while  busy  house-wives 
plied  backwards  and  forwards  along  the  lines, 
helping  everything  forward  by  the  nimbleness 
of  their  tongues. 

By  degrees  a fleet  of  boats  and  canoes  were 
piled  up  with  all  kinds  of  household  articles  : 
ponderous  tables  ; chests  of  drawers  resplendent 
with  brass  ornaments ; quaint  corner-cup- 
boards ; beds  and  bedsteads  ; with  any  quan- 
tity of  pots,  kettles,  fr^dng-pans,  and  Dutch 
ovens.  In  each  boat  embarked  a whole  family, 
from  the  robustious  burgher  down  to  the  cats 
and  dogs  and  little  negroes.  In  this  way  they 
set  off  across  the  mouth  of  the  Hudson,  under 
the  guidance  of  Oloffe  the  Dreamer,  who 
hoisted  his  standard  on  the  leading  boat. 

This  memorable  migration  took  place  on  the 
first  of  May,  and  was  long  cited  in  tradition  as 
the  grand  movmg.  The  anniversary  of  it  was 
piously  observed  among  the  ‘ ‘ sons  of  the  pil- 
grims of  Communipaw,”  by  turning  their 
houses  topsy-turvy  and  carrying  all  the  furni- 
ture through  the  streets,  in  emblem  of  the 
swarming  of  the  parent-hive ; and  this  is  the 
real  origin  of  the  universal  agitation  and 

‘ ‘ moving  ’ ’ by  which  this  most  restless  of  cities 
is  literally  turned  out  of  doors  on  every  Ma}'- 

As  the  little  squadron  from  Communipaw 
drew  near  to  the  shores  of  Manna-hata,  a sachem, 
at  the  head  of  a band  of  warriors,  appeared  to 
oppose  their  landing.  Some  of  the  most  zeal- 
ous of  the  pilgrims  were  for  chastising  this 
insolence  with  powder  and  ball,  according  to 
the  approved  mode  of  discoverers  ; but  the 
sage  Oloffe  gave  them  the  significant  sign  of 
St.  Nicholas,  laying  his  finger  beside  his  nose 
and  winking  hard  with  one  eye  ; whereupon 
his  followers  perceived  that  there  was  something 
sagacious  in  the  wind.  He  now  addressed  the 
Indians  in  the  blandest  terms  ; and  made  such 
tempting  display  of  beads,  hawks’ -bells,  and 
red  blankets,  that  he  was  soon  permitted  to 
land,  and  a great  land-speculation  ensued. 
And  here  let  me  give  the  true  story  of  the 
original  purchase  of  the  site  of  this  renowned 
city,  about  which  so  much  has  been  said  and 
written.  Some  affirm  that  the  first  cost  was 
but  sixty  guilders.  The  learned  Dominie 
Heckwelder  records  a tradition*  that  the  Dutch 
discoverers  bargained  for  only  so  much  land  as 
the  hide  of  a bullock  would  cover  ; but  that 

* MSS.  of  the  Rev.  John  Heckwelder;  New  York 
Historical  Society. 


they  cut  the  hide  in  strips  no  thicker  than  a 
child’s  finger,  so  as  to  take  in  a large  portion 
of  land,  and  to  take  in  the  Indians  into  the 
bargain.  This,  however,  is  an  old  fable  which 
the  worthy  Dominie  may  have  borrowed  from 
antiquity.  The  true  version  is,  that  Oloffe 
Van  Kortlandt  bargained  for  just  so  much 
land  as  a man  could  cover  with  his  nether  gar- 
ments. The  terms  being  concluded,  he  pro- 
duced his  friend  Mynheer  Ten  Broeck  as  the 
man  whose  breeches  were  to  be  used  in 
measurement.  The  simple  savages,  whose 
ideas  of  man’s  nether  garments  had  never 
expanded  beyond  the  dimensions  of  a breech- 
clout,  stared  with  astonishment  and  dismay 
as  they  beheld  this  bulbous-bottomed  burgher 
peeled  like  an  onion,  and  breeches  after  breeches 
spread  forth  over  the  land  until  they  covered 
the  actual  site  of  this  venerable  city. 

This  is  the  true  history  of  the  adroit  bargain 
by  which  the  island  of  Manhattan  was  bought 
for  sixty  guilders  ; and  in  corroboration  of  it 
I will  add,  that  Mynheer  Ten  Breeches,  for 
his  services  on  this  memorable  occasion,  was 
elevated  to  the  ofiice  of  land-measurer  ; which 
he  afterwards  exercised  in  the  colony. 


Cbaptec  DH1F1I 


K f I ^ HE  land  being  thus  fairly 
p I purchased  of  the  In- 

^ dians,  a circumstance 

very  unusual  in  the  his- 
tory  of  colonization,  and 

. . " strongly  illustrative  of 

honesty  of  our  Dutch 
progenitors,  a stockade 
fort  and  trading-house 
were  forthwith  erected 
on  an  eminence  in  front  of  the  place  where 
the  good  St.  Nicholas  had  appeared  in  a vision 
to  Oloffe  the  Dreamer,  and  which,  as  has  al- 
ready been  observed,  was  the  identical  place 
at  present  known  as  the  Bowling  Green. 

Around  this  fort  a progeny  of  little  Dutch- 
built  houses,  with  tiled  roofs  and  weather- 
cocks, soon  sprang  up,  nestling  themselves 
under  its  walls  for  protection,  as  a brood  of 

^Tbe  ITnfant  Settlement 


half- fledged  chickens  nestle  under  the  wings 
of  the  mother  hen.  The  whole  was  sur- 
rounded by  an  enclosure  of  strong  palisadoes, 
to  guard  against  any  sudden  irruption  of  the 
savages.  Outside  of  these  extended  the  corn- 
fields and  cabbage-gardens  of  the  community, 
with  here  and  there  an  attempt  at  a tobacco- 
plantation  ; all  covering  those  tracts  of  country 
at  present  called  Broadway,  Wall  Street,  Wil- 
liam Street,  and  Pearl  Street. 

I must  not  omit  to  mention,  that,  in  por- 
tioning out  the  land,  a goodly  “bowerie,”  or 
farm,  was  allotted  to  the  sage  Olofie  in  consid- 
eration of  the  service  he  had  rendered  to  the 
public  by  his  talent  at  dreaming  ; and  the  site 
of  his  ‘ ‘ bowerie  ’ ’ is  known  by  the  name  of 
Kortlandt  (or  Cortlandt)  Street  to  the  present 

And  now  the  infant  settlement  having  ad- 
vanced in  age  and  stature,  it  was  thought  high 
time  it  should  receive  an  honest  Christian 
name.  Hitherto  it  had  gone  by  the  original 
Indian  name  Manna-hata,  or,  as  some  will 
have  it,  “The  Manhattoes  ’ ’ ; but  this  was 
now  decried  as  savage  and  heathenish,  and  as 
tending  to  keep  up  the  memory  of  the  pagan 
brood  that  originally  possessed  it.  Many  were 
the  consultations  held  upon  the  subject,  with- 
out coming  to  a conclusion,  for  though  every- 





B Ibistor^  of  IRew  lorJ? 

body  condemned  the  old  name,  nobody  could 
invent  a new  one.  At  length,  when  the  council 
was  almost  in  despair,  a burgher,  remarkable 
for  the  size  and  squareness  of  his  head  pro- 
posed that  they  should  call  it  New  Amsterdam. 
The  proposition  took  everybody  by  surprise ; 
it  was  so  striking,  so  apposite,  so  ingenious. 
The  name  was  adopted  by  acclamation,  and 
New  Amsterdam  the  metropolis  was  thence- 
forth called.  Still,  however,  the  early  authors 
of  the  province  continued  to  call  it  by  the 
general  appellation  of  “The  Manhattoes,” 
and  the  poets  fondly  clung  to  the  euphonious 
name  of  Manna-hata  ; but  those  are  a kind  of 
folk  whose  tastes  and  notions  should  go  for 
nothing  in  matters  of  this  kind. 

Having  thus  provided  the  embryo  city  with 
a name,  the  next  was  to  give  it  an  armorial 
bearing  or  device,  as  some  cities  have  a ram- 
pant lion,  others  a soaring  eagle, — emblemati- 
cal, no  doubt,  of  the  valiant  and  high-flying 
qualities  of  the  inhabitants  ; so,  after  mature 
deliberation,  a sleek  beaver  was  emblazoned 
on  the  city  standard,  as  indicative  of  the 
amphibious  origin,  and  patient,  persevering 
habits  of  the  New  Amsterdammers. 

The  thriving  state  of  the  settlement  and  the 
rapid  increase  of  houses  soon  made  it  necessary 
to  arrange  some  plan  upon  which  the  city 


^Tbe  0reat  2)i9CU66ion 


should  be  built  ; but  at  the  very  first  consulta- 
tion held  on  the  subject,  a violent  discussion 
arose  ; and  I mention  it  with  much  sorrowing 
as  being  the  first  altercation  on  record  in  the 
councils  of  New  Amsterdam.  It  was,  in  fact, 
a breaking  forth  of  the  grudge  and  heart- 
burning that  had  existed  between  those  two 
eminent  burghers.  Mynheers  Ten  Broeck  and 
Harden  Broeck,  ever  since  their  unhappy  dis- 
pute on  the  coast  of  Bellevue.  The  great 
Harden  Broeck  had  waxed  very  wealthy  and 
powerful,  from  his  domains,  which  embraced 
the  whole  chain  of  Apulean  mountains  that 
stretched  along  the  gulf  of  Kip’s  Bay,  and 
from  part  of  which  his  descendants  have  been 
expelled  in  latter  ages  by  the  powerful  clans 
of  the  Joneses  and  the  Schermerhornes. 

An  ingenious  plan  for  the  city  was  offered  by 
Mynheer  Harden  Broeck,  who  proposed  that 
it  should  be  cut  up  and  intersected  by  canals, 
after  the  manner  of  the  most  admired  cities  in 
Holland.  To  this  Mynheer  Ten  Broeck  was 
diametrically  opposed,  suggesting,  in  place 
thereof,  that  they  should  run  out  docks  and 
wharves,  by  means  of  piles  driven  into  the 
bottom  of  the  river,  on  which  the  towns  should 
be  built.  ‘ ‘ By  these  means,  ” said  he  triumph- 
antly, “ shall  we  rescue  a considerable  space  of 
territory  from  these  immense  rivers,  and  build 

v ' U A' 


( \ \// 

\ r \ X 


198  B Ibistorg  ot  IKlew  IJorf^ 

a city  that  shall  rival  x\msterdam,  Venice, 


or  any  amphibious  city  in  Europe.”  To 
this  proposition,  Harden  Broeck  (or  Tough 

Breeches)  replied,  with  a look  of  as  much 


scorn  as  he  could  possibly  assume.  He  cast 
the  utmost  censure  upon  the  plan  of  his  antag- 
onist, as  being  preposterous  and  against  the 


very  order  of  things,  as  he  would  leave  to  every 

true  Hollander.  “For  what,”  said  he,  “ is  a 
town  without  canals  ? — it  is  like  a body  with- 
out veins  and  arteries,  and  must  perish  for  want 
of  a free  circulation  of  the  vital  fluid.  ’ ’ Ten 

M 1 

Breeches,  on  the  contrary,  retorted  with  a sar- 


casm  upon  his  antagonist,  who  was  somewhat 


of  an  arid,  dr^^-boned  habit  : he  remarked,  that 

/ M 

as  to  the  circulation  of  the  blood  being  neces- 

sary to  existence.  Mynheer  Tough  Breeches 
was  a living  contradiction  to  his  own  assertion  : 
for  everybody  knew  there  had  not  a drop 
of  blood  circulated  through  his  wind-dried  car- 


case  for  good  ten  years,  and  yet  there  was  not 


a greater  busy-body  in  the  whole  colony.  Per- 


sonalities  have  seldom  much  effect  in  making 


converts  in  argument  ; nor  have  I ever  seen  a 

man  convinced  of  error  by  being  convicted  of 

1 1 

deformity.  At  least,  such  was  not  the  case  at 



present.  If  Ten  Breeches  was  very  happy  in 


sarcasm.  Tough  Breeches,  who  was  a sturdy 


little  man,  and  never  gave  up  the  last  word, 


I i \>^ 

1 ' 


Zbc  (5reat  S)i6CU66ion 

rejoined  with  increasing  spirit ; Ten  Breeches 
had  the  advantage  of  the  greatest  volubility, 
but  Tough  Breeches  had  that  invaluable  coat 
of  mail  in  argument,  called  obstinacy.  Ten 


Breeches  had,  therefore,  the  most  mettle,  but 
Tough  Breeches  the  best  bottom  ; so  that 
though  Ten  Breeches  made  a dreadful  clattering 
about  his  ears,  and  battered  and  belabored  him 
wdth  hard  words  and  sound  arguments,  yet 


B Ibistor^  of  IRew  l!)ork 

Tough  Breeches  hung  on  most  resolutely  to  the 
last.  They  parted,  therefore,  as  is  usual  in  all 
arguments  where  both  parties  are  in  the  right, 
without  coming  to  any  conclusion  ; — but  they 
hated  each  other  most  heartily  forever  after, 
and  a similar  breech  with  that  between  the 
houses  of  Capulet  and  Montague  did  ensue 
between  the  families  of  Ten  Breeches  and 
Tough  Breeches. 

I would  not  fatigue  my  reader  with  these 
dull  matters  of  fact,  but  that  my  duty  as  a 
faithful  historian  requires  that  I should  be  par- 
ticular ; and  in  truth,  as  I am  now  treating  of 
the  critical  period  when  our  city,  like  a young 
twig,  first  received  the  twists  and  turns  which 
have  since  contributed  to  give  it  its  present  pic- 
turesque irregularity,  I cannot  be  too  minute 
in  detailing  their  first  causes. 

After  the  unhapp}'  altercation  I have  just 
mentioned,  I do  not  find  that  anything  further 
was  said  on  the  subject  worthy  of  being  re- 
corded. The  council,  consisting  of  the  lar- 
gest and  oldest  heads  in  the  community,  met 
regularly  once  a week,  to  ponder  on  this 
momentous  subject ; but,  either  they  were  de- 
terred by  the  war  of  words  they  had  witnessed, 
or  they  were  naturally  averse  to  the  exercise 
of  the  tongue,  and  the  subsequent  exercise  of 
the  brains, — certain  it  is,  the  most  profound 


Zbc  Doings  of  tbc  Council 

silence  was  maintained, — the  question  as  usual 
lay  on  the  table, — the  members  quietly  smoked 
their  pipes,  making  but  few  laws,  without  ever 
enforcing  any, — and  in  the  meantime  the  affairs 
of  the  settlement  went  on — as  it  pleased  God. 

As  most  of  the  council  were  but  little  skilled 
in  the  mystery  of  combining  pot-hooks  and 
hangers,  they  determined  most  judiciously  not 
to  puzzle  either  themselves  or  posterity  with 
voluminous  records.  The  secretary,  however, 
kept  the  minutes  of  the  council,  with  tolerable 

202  B Ibietor^  of  Bew  liJork 

precision,  in  a large  vellum  folio,  fastened  with 
massy  brass  clasps  ; the  journal  of  each  meet- 
ing consisted  but  of  two  lines,  stating  in  Dutch, 
that  ‘ ‘ the  council  sat  this  day,  and  smoked 
twelve  pipes,  on  the  affairs  of  the  colony.” 
By  which  it  appears  that  the  first  settlers  did 
not  regulate  their  time  by  hours,  but  pipes,  in 
the  same  manner  as  they  measure  distances  in 
Holland  at  this  very  time  : an  admirably  exact 
measurement,  as  a pipe  in  the  mouth  of  a true- 
born  Dutchman  is  never  liable  to  those  acci- 
dents and  irregularities  that  are  continually 
putting  our  clocks  out  of  order. 

In  this  manner  did  the  profound  council  of 
New  Amsterdam  smoke,  and  doze,  and  pon- 
der, from  week  to  week,  month  to  month,  and 
year  to  year,  in  what  manner  they  should  con- 
struct their  infant  settlement ; — meanwhile,  the 
town  took  care  of  itself,  and  like  a sturdy  brat 
which  is  suffered  to  run  about  wild,  unshackled 
by  clouts  and  bandages,  and  other  abomina- 
tions by  which  your  notable  nurses  and  sage 
old  women  cripple  and  disfigure  the  children  of 
men,  increased  so  rapidly  in  strength  and  mag- 
nitude, that  before  the  honest  burgomasters 
had  determined  upon  a plan,  it  was  too  late  to 
put  it  in  execution, — whereupon  they  wisely 
abandoned  the  subject  altogether. 

Cbapter  IFJ 

OEOFFE  the  dreamer  BEGAN  TO  DREAM  OF  AN 


204  B 1f3i6tor^  ot  IRew  lork 

trackless  forests  and  wide-spreading  waters, 
that  seemed  to  shut  out  all  the  cares  and  van- 
ities of  a wicked  world. 

In  those  days  did  this  embr>’o  city  present 
the  rare  and  noble  spectacle  of  a community 
governed  without  laws  ; and  thus  being  left  to 
its  own  course,  and  the  fostering  care  of  Provi- 
dence, increased  as  rapidly  as  though  it  had 
been  burdened  with  a dozen  panniers  full  of 
those  sage  laws  usually  heaped  on  the  backs 
of  young  cities — in  order  to  make  them  grow. 
And  in  this  particular  I greatly  admire  the 
wisdom  and  sound  knowledge  of  human  na- 
ture, displayed  by  the  sage  Oloffe  the  Dreamer 
and  his  fellow-legislators.  For  my  part,  I have 
not  so  bad  an  opinion  of  mankind  as  many  of 
my  brother  philosophers.  I do  not  think  poor 
human  nature  so  sorry  a piece  of  workman- 
ship as  they  would  make  it  out  to  be  ; and  as 
far  as  I have  observed,  I am  fully  satisfied  that 
man,  if  left  to  himself,  would  about  as  readily 
go  right  as  wrong.  It  is  only  this  eternally 
sounding  in  his  ears  that  it  is  his  duty  to  go 
right,  which  makes  him  go  the  very  reverse. 
The  noble  independence  of  his  nature  revolts 
at  this  intolerable  tyranny  of  law,  and  the  per- 
petual interference  of  officious  morality,  which 
are  ever  besetting  his  path  with  finger-posts 
and  directions  to  ‘ ‘ keep  to  the  right,  as  the  law 

Zbc  iBvii  of  /IRan^  2Law6  205 

directs  ” ; and  like  a spirited  urchin,  he  turns 
directly  contrary,  and  gallops  through  mud  and 
mire,  over  hedges  and  ditches,  merely  to  show 
that  he  is  a lad  of  spirit,  and  out  of  his  leading- 
strings.  And  these  opinions  are  amply  sub- 
stantiated by  what  I have  above  said  of  our 
worthy  ancestors  ; who  never  being  be-preached 
and  be-lectured,  and  guided  and  governed  by 
statutes  and  laws  and  by-laws,  as  are  their 
more  enlightened  descendants,  did  one  and  all 
demean  themselves  honestly  and  peaceably,  out 
of  pure  ignorance,  or,  in  other  words,  because 
they  knew  no  better. 

Nor  must  I omit  to  record  one  of  the  earliest 
measures  of  this  infant  settlement,  inasmuch  as 
it  shows  the  piety  of  our  forefathers,  and  that, 
like  good  Christians,  the}^  were  always  ready 
to  serve  God,  after  they  had  first  served  them- 
selves. Thus,  having  quietly  settled  themselves 
down,  and  provided  for  their  own  comfort, 
they  bethought  themselves  of  testifying  their 
gratitude  to  the  great  and  good  St.  Nicholas, 
for  his  protecting  care,  in  guiding  them  to 
this  delectable  abode.  To  this  end  they  built 
a fair  and  goodly  chapel  within  the  fort,  which 
they  consecrated  to  his  name  ; whereupon  he 
immediately  took  the  town  of  New  Amster- 
dam under  his  peculiar  patronage,  and  he 
has  ever  since  been,  and  I devoutly  hope,  | 

will  ever  be, 

At  this  early  period  was  instituted  that  pious 
ceremon}^,  still  religiously  observed  in  all  our 
ancient  families  of  the  right  breed,  of  hanging 
up  a stocking  in  the  chimney  on  St.  Nicholas 
eve ; which  stocking  is  always  found  in  the 
morning  miraculously  filled  ; for  the  good  St. 
Nicholas  has  ever  been  a great  giver  of  gifts, 
particularly  to  children. 

I am  moreover  told  that  there  is  a little  leg- 
endary book,  somewhere  extant,  written  in 
Low  Dutch,  which  says,  that  the  image  of  this 
renowned  saint,  which  whilom  graced  the 
bowsprit  of  the  Goede  Vrouw,  was  elevated  in 
front  of  this  chapel,  in  the  centre  of  what  in 
modern  days  is  called  the  Bowling  Green, — on 
the  very  spot,  in  fact,  where  he  appeared  in 
vision  to  Oloffe  the  Dreamer.  And  the  legend 
further  treats  of  divers  miracles  wrought  by 
the  mighty  pipe  which  the  saint  held  in  his 
mouth,  a whiff  of  which  was  a sovereign  cure 
for  indigestion, — an  invaluable  relic  in  this 
colony  of  brave  trencher-men.  As,  however, 
in  spite  of  the  most  diligent  search,  I cannot 
lay  my  hands  upon  this  little  book,  I must  con- 
fess that  I entertain  considerable  doubt  on  the 

Thus  benignly  fostered  by  the  good  St. 

St.  IRicbolae 

Nicholas,  the  infant  city  thrived  apace. 
Hordes  of  painted  savages,  it  is  true,  still 
lurked  about  the  unsettled  parts  of  the  island. 
The  hunter  still  pitched  his  bower  of  skins 


and  bark  beside  the  rills  that  ran  through  the 
cool  and  shady  glens,  while  here  and  there 
might  be  seen,  on  some  sunny  knoll,  a group 
of  Indian  wigwams,  whose  smoke  arose  above 


B 1bi6tor^  Qt  IRevv  lork 


the  neighboring  trees,  and  floated  in  the  trans- 
parent atmosphere.  A mutual  good-will,  how- 
ever, existed  between  these  wandering  beings 
and  the  burghers  of  New  Amsterdam.  Our 
benevolent  forefathers  endeavored  as  much  as 
possible  to  ameliorate  their  situation,  by  giving 
them  gin,  rum,  and  glass  beads,  in  exchange 
for  their  peltries  ; for  it  seems  the  kind-hearted 
Dutchmen  had  conceived  a great  friendship  for 
their  savage  neighbors,  on  account  of  their 
being  pleasant  men  to  trade  with,  and  little 
skilled  in  the  art  of  making  a bargain. 

Now  and  then  a crew  of  these  half-human 
sons  of  the  forest  would  make  their  appearance 
in  the  streets  of  New  Amsterdam,  fantastically 
painted  and  decorated  with  beads  and  flaunting 
feathers,  sauntering  about  with  an  air  of  list- 
less indifference, — sometimes  in  the  market- 
place, instructing  the  little  Dutch  boys  in  the 
use  of  the  bow  and  arrow, — at  other  times, 
inflamed  with  liquor,  swaggering  and  whooping 
and  yelling  about  the  town  like  so  many  fiends, 
to  the  great  dismay  of  all  the  good  wives, 
who  would  hurry  their  children  into  the  house, 
fasten  the  doors,  and  throw  water  upon  the 
enemy  from  the  garret  windows.  It  is  worthy 
of  mention  here,  that  our  forefathers  were 
very  particular  in  holding  up  these  wild  men 
as  excellent  domestic  examples — and  for  rea- 




B 1bi6tor^  of  mew 

sons  that  may  be  gathered  from  the  history  of 
Master  Ogilby,  who  tells  us,  that  “for  the 
least  offence  the  bridegroom  soundly  beats  his 
wife  and  turns  her  out  of  doors,  and  marries 
another,  insomuch  that  some  of  them  have 
every  year  a new  wife.”  Whether  this  awful 
example  had  any  influence  or  not,  history 
does  not  mention  ; but  it  is  certain  that  our 
grandmothers  were  miracles  of  fidelity  and 

True  it  is,  that  the  good  understanding  be- 
tween our  ancestors  and  their  savage  neighbors 
was  liable  to  occasional  interruptions,  and  I 
have  heard  my  grandmother,  who  was  a very 
wise  old  woman,  and  well  versed  in  the  history 
of  these  parts,  tell  a long  story  of  a winter’s 
evening,  about  a battle  between  the  New 
Amsterdammers  and  the  Indians,  which  was 
known  by  the  name  of  the  Peach  2va7',  and 
which  took  place  near  a peach  orchard,  in  a 
dark  glen,  which  for  a long  time  went  by  the 
name  of  Murderer’s  Valley. 

The  legend  of  this  sylvan  war  was  long  cur- 
rent among  the  nurses,  old  wives,  and  other 
ancient  chroniclers  of  the  place  ; but  time  and 
improvement  have  almost  obliterated  both  the 
tradition  and  the  scene  of  battle  ; for  what 
was  once  the  blood-stained  valley  is  now  in  the 
centre  of  this  populous  city,  and  known  b}^  the 

Bmbitioue  Dreams 


name  of  Dey  Street.  I know  not  whether  it 
was  to  this  ‘ ‘ Peach  war,  ’ ’ and  the  acquisitions 
of  Indian  land  which  may  have  grown  out  of 
it,  that  we  may  ascribe  the  first  seeds  of  the 
spirit  of  ‘ ‘ annexation  ’ ’ which  now  began  to 
manifest  themselves.  Hitherto  the  ambition 
of  the  worthy  burghers  had  been  confined  to 
the  lovely  island  of  Manna-hata  ; and  Spiten 
Devil  on  the  Hudson,  and  Hell-gate  on  the 
Sound,  were  to  them  the  pillars  of  Hercules, 
the  7ie  phis  tdtra  of  human  enterprise.  Shortly 
after  the  Peach  war,  however,  a restless  spirit 
was  observed  among  the  New  Amsterdammers, 
who  began  to  cast  wistful  looks  upon  the 
wild  lands  of  their  Indian  neighbors  ; for,  some- 
how or  other,  wild  Indian  land  alwa3'S  looks 
greener  in  the  e\^es  of  settlers  than  the  land 
they  occup}^  It  is  hinted  that  Olofie  the 
Dreamer  encouraged  these  notions  ; having,  as 
has  been  shown,  the  inherent  spirit  of  a land 
speculator,  which  had  been  wonderfully-  quick- 
ened and  expanded  since  he  had  become  a 
landholder.  Many  of  the  common  people, 
who  had  never  before  owned  a foot  of  land, 
now  began  to  be  discontented  with  the  town 
lots  which  had  fallen  to  their  shares  ; others, 
who  had  snug  farms  and  tobacco-plantations, 
found  they  had  not  sufficient  elbow-room,  and 
began  to  question  the  rights  of  the  Indians  to 


B 1bi6tor^  of  IRew  lork 

the  vast  regions  they  pretended  to  hold — while 
the  good  Oloffe  indulged  in  magnificent 
dreams  of  foreign  conquest  and  great  patroon- 
ships  in  the  wilderness. 

The  results  of  these  dreams  were  certain 
exploring  expeditions,  sent  forth  in  various 
directions,  to  “sow  the  seeds  of  empire,”  as 
it  was  said.  The  earliest  of  these  were  con- 
ducted by  Hans  Reinier  Oothout,  an  old 
navigator,  famous  for  the  sharpness  of  his 
vision,  who  could  see  land  when  it  was  quite 
out  of  sight  to  ordinary  mortals,  and  who  had 
a spy-glass  covered  with  a bit  of  tarpauling, 
with  which  he  could  spy  up  the  crookedest 
river  quite  to  its  head-waters.  He  was  accom- 
panied by  M3mheer  Ten  Breeches,  as  land»- 
measurer,  in  case  of  any  dispute  with  the 

What  was  the  consequence  of  these  explor- 
ing expeditions  ? In  a little  while  we  find  a 
frontier  post  or  trading-house  called  Fort 
Nassau,  established  far  to  the  south  on  Dela- 
ware River ; another,  called  Fort  Goed  Hoep 
(or  Good  Hope),  on  the  Varsche,  or  Fresh,  or 
Connecticut  River,  and  another,  called  Fort 
Aurania  (now  Albany-),  awa}^  up  the  Hudson 
River  ; while  the  boundaries  of  the  province  kept 
extending  on  every  side,  nobody  knew  whither, 
far  into  the  regions  of  Terra  Incognita. 

lboIlanD’6  /llbaternal  ipolici? 

Of  the  boundary  feuds  and  troubles  which 
the  ambitious  little  province  brought  upon 
itself  by  these  indefinite  expansions  of  its 
territory,  we  shall  treat  at  large  in  the  after- 
pages of  this  eventful  history  ; sufiicient  for 


the  present  is  it  to  say  that  the  swelling  im- 
portance of  the  New  Netherlands  awakened 
the  attention  of  the  mother-country,  who, 
finding  it  likely  to  yield  much  revenue  and 
no  trouble,  began  to  take  that  interest  in  its 

B 1bi6tori5  of  Ittevv  l^ork 

welfare  which  knowing  people  evince  for  rich 

But  as  this  opens  a new  era  in  the  fortunes 
of  New  Amsterdam,  I will  here  put  an  end  to 
this  second  book  of  my  history,  and  will  treat 
of  the  maternal  policy  of  the  mother-country 
in  my  next. 


Chapter  IF 


/ RIEVOUS  and  very  much 

' commiserated  is 

^ feeling 

^ historian,  wdio  writes 
history  of  his  native 
land.  If  it  fall  to  his 
lot  to  be  the  recorder 
of  calamity 

^ the  mournful  page  is 

watered  with  his  tears  ; 
nor  can  he  recall  the  most  prosperous  and 
blissful  era,  without  a melancholy  sigh  at  the 
reflection  that  it  has  passed  away  forever  ! I 
know  not  whether  it  be  owing  to  an  immod- 
erate love  for  the  simplicity  of  former  times, 
or  to  that  certain  tenderness  of  heart  incident 
to  all  sentimental  historians ; but  I candidly 

or  crime, 


21  Ibistor^  of  IRevv 

confess  that  I cannot  look  back  on  the  happier 
days  of  our  city,  which  I now  describe,  with- 
out great  dejection  of  spirit.  With  faltering 
hand  do  I withdraw  the  curtain  of  oblivion, 
that  veils  the  modest  merit  of  our  venerable 
ancestors,  and  as  their  figures  rise  to  my  men- 
tal vision,  humble  myself  before  their  mighty 

Such  are  my  feelings  when  I revisit  the  fam- 
ily mansion  of  the  Knickerbockers,  and  spend 
a lonely  hour  in  the  chamber  where  hang  the 
portraits  of  my  forefathers,  shrouded  in  dust, 
like  the  forms  they  represent.  With  pious 
reverence  do  I gaze  on  the  countenances  of 
those  renowned  burghers,  who  have  preceded 
me  in  the  steady  march  of  existence, — whose 
sober  and  temperate  blood  now  meanders 
through  my  veins,  flowing  slower  and  slower 
in  its  feeble  conduits,  until  its  current  shall 
soon  be  stopped  forever  ! 

These,  I say  to  myself,  are  but  frail  memo- 
rials of  the  mighty  men  who  flourished  in  the 
days  of  the  patriarchs  ; but  who,  alas,  have 
long  since  mouldered  in  that  tomb  towards 
which  my  steps  are  insensibly  and  irresistibly 
hastening  ! As  I pace  the  darkened  chamber 
and  lose  myself  in  melancholy  musings,  the 
shadowy  images  around  me  almost  seem  to 
steal  once  more  into  existence, — their  counte- 

nances  to  assume  the  animation  of  life, — their 
eyes  to  pursue  me  in  every  movement  ! Car- 
ried away  by  the  delusions  of  fancy,  I almost 
imagine  myself  surrounded  by  the  shades 
of  the  departed,  and  holding  sweet  converse 
with  the  worthies  of  antiquity  ! Ah,  hapless 
Diedrich  ! born  in  a degenerate  age,  abandoned 
to  the  buffetings  of  fortune, — a stranger  and  a 
wear}^  pilgrim  in  thy  native  land, — blest  with 
no  weeping  wife,  nor  family  of  helpless  chil- 
dren, but  doomed  to  wander  neglected  through 
those  crowded  streets,  and  elbowed  by  foreign 
upstarts  from  those  fair  abodes  where  once 
thine  ancestors  held  sovereign  empire  ! 

Let  me  not,  however,  lose  the  historian  in 
the  man,  nor  suffer  the  doting  recollections  of 
age  to  overcome  me,  while  dwelling  with  fond 
garrulity  on  the  virtuous  days  of  the  patriarchs, 
— on  those  sweet  days  of  simplicity  and  ease, 
which  never  more  will  dawn  on  the  lovely  island 
of  Manna-hata. 

These  melancholy  reflections  have  been 
forced  from  me  by  the  growing  wealth  and  im- 
portance of  New  Amsterdam,  which,  I plainly 
perceive,  are  to  involve  it  in  all  kinds  of  perils 
and  disasters.  Already,  as  I observed  at  the 
close  of  my  last  book,  they  had  awakened  the 
attentions  of  the  mother-country.  The  usual 
mark  of  protection  shown  by  mother-countries 

^ i 


B Iblstor^  of  IRew  lorf? 

to  wealthy  colonies  was  forthwith  manifested  ; 
a governor  being  sent  out  to  rule  over  the  prov- 
ince, and  squeeze  out  of  it  as  much  revenue  as 
possible.  The  arrival  of  a governor  of  course 
put  an  end  to  the  protectorate  of  Oloffe  the 
Dreamer.  He  appears,  however,  to  have  dreamt 
to  some  purpose  during  his  sway,  as  we  find 
him  afterwards  living  as  a patroon  on  the  great 
landed  estate  on  the  banks  of  the  Hudson  ; 
having  virtually  forfeited  all  fight  to  his  an- 
cient appellation  of  Kortlandt  or  Lackland. 

It  was  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  1629,  that 
Mynheer  Wouter  Van  Twiller  was  appointed 
governor  of  the  province  of  Nieuw  Nederlandts 
under  the  commission  and  control  of  their  High 
Mightinesses  the  Lords  States- General  of  the 
United  Netherlands,  and  the  privileged  West 
India  Company. 

This  renowned  old  gentleman  arrived  at  New 
Amsterdam  in  the  merry  month  of  June,  the 
sweetest  month  in  all  the  year ; when  dan 
Apollo  seems  to  dance  up  the  transparent  firm- 
ament,— when  the  robin,  the  thrush,  and  a 
thousand  other  wanton  songsters,  make  the 
woods  to  resound  with  amorous  ditties,  and  the 
luxurious  little  boblincon  revels  among  the 
clover-blossoms  of  the  meadows, — all  which 
happy  coincidence  persuaded  the  old  dames 
of  New  Amsterdam,  who  were  skilled  in  the  art 


of  foretelling  events,  that  this  was  to  be  a happy 
and  prosperous  administration. 

The  renowned  Wouter  (or  Walter)  Van  Twil- 
ler  was  descended  from  a long  line  of  Dutch 
burgomasters,  who  had  successively  dozed  away 
their  lives  and  grown  fat  upon  the  bench  of 
magistracy  in  Rotterdam  ; and  who  had  com- 
ported themselves  with  such  singular  wisdom 
and  propriety,  that  they  were  never  either 
heard  or  talked  of — which,  next  to  being  uni- 
versally applauded,  should  be  the  object  of 
ambition  of  all  magistrates  and  rulers.  There 
are  two  opposite  ways  by  which  some  men 
make  a figure  in  the  world  : one,  by  talking 
faster  than  they  think,  and  the  other,  by  hold- 
ing their  tongues  and  not  thinking  at  all.  By 
the  first,  many  a smatterer  acquires  the  reputa- 
tion of  a man  of  quick  parts ; b}^  the  other, 
many  a dunderpate,  like  the  owl,  the  stupidest 
of  birds,  comes  to  be  considered  the  very  type 
of  wisdom.  This,  by  the  way,  is  a casual  re- 
mark, which  I would  not,  for  the  universe, 
have  it  thought  I apply  to  Governor  Van 
Twiller.  It  is  true  he  was  a man  shut  up 
within  himself,  like  an  oyster,  and  rarely 
spoke,  except  in  monosyllables  ; but  then  it 
was  allowed  he  seldom  said  a foolish  thing. 
So  invincible  was  his  gravity  that  he  was  never 
known  to  laugh  or  even  to  smile  through  the 

21  lbi6tor^  of  mew  WorR 

whole  course  of  a long  and  prosperous  life. 
Na\’,  if  a joke  were  uttered  iii  his  presence, 
that  set  light-minded  hearers  in  a roar,  it  was 
observed  to  throw  him  into  a state  of  perplexity. 
Sometimes  he  would  deign  to  inquire  into  the 
matter,  and  when,  after  much  explanation,  the 
joke  was  made  as  plain  as  a pike-staff,  he  would 
continue  to  smoke  his  pipe  in  silence,  and  at 
length,  knocking  out  the  ashes,  would  exclaim, 
“ Well  ! I see  nothing  in  all  that  to  laugh 
about.  ’ ’ 

With  all  his  reflective  habits,  he  never  made 
up  his  mind  on  a subject.  His  adherents  ac- 
counted for  this  by  the  astonishing  magnitude 
of  his  ideas.  He  conceived  ever}'  subject  on  so 
grand  a scale  that  he  had  not  room  in  his  head 
to  turn  it  over  and  examine  both  sides  of  it. 
Certain  it  is,  that,  if  any  matter  were  pro- 
pounded to  him  on  which  ordinary  mortals 
would  rashly  determine  at  first  glance,  he  would 
put  on  a vague,  mysterious  look,  shake  his 
capacious  head,  smoke  some  time  in  profound 
.silence,  and  at  length  observe,  that  ‘ ‘ he  had 
his  doubts  about  the  matter  ’ ’ ; which  gained 
him  the  reputation  of  a man  slow  of  belief  and 
not  easily  imposed  upon.  What  is  more,  it 
gained  him  a lasting  name  ; for  to  this  habit 
of  the  mind  has  been  attributed  his  surname 
of  Twiller  ; which  is  said  to  be  a corruption 

Governor  Dan  ^TwUler 

of  the  original  Twijfler,  or,  in  plain  English, 

The  person  of  this  illustrious  old  gentleman 
was  formed  and  proportioned,  as  though  it  had 
been  moulded  by  the  hands  of  some  cunning 
Dutch  statuary,  as  a model  of  majesty  and 


lordly  grandeur.  He  was  exactl}'  five  feet  six 
inches  in  height,  and  six  feet  five  inches  in  cir- 
cumference. His  head  was  a perfect  sphere, 
and  of  such  stupendous  dimensions,  that  Dame 
Nature,  with  all  her  sex’s  ingenuity,  would 
have  been  puzzled  to  construct  a neck  capable 

B 1bi0tori5  of  IRew  lork 

of  supporting  it  ; wherefore  she  wivSely  declined 
the  attempt,  and  settled  it  firmly  on  the  top 
of  his  backbone,  just  between  the  shoulders. 
His  body  was  oblong  and  particularly  capa- 
cious at  bottom  ; which  was  wisely  ordered 
by  Providence,  seeing  that  he  was  a man  of 
sedentar}^  habits,  and  very  averse  to  the  idle 
labor  of  walking.  His  legs  were  short,  but 
sturdy  in  proportion  to  the  weight  they  had 
to  sustain  ; so  that  when  erect  he  had  not  a 
little  the  appearance  of  a beer-barrel  on  skids. 
His  face,  that  infallible  index  of  the  mind, 
presented  a vast  expanse,  unfurrowed  by  any 
of  those  lines  and  angles  which  disfigure  the 
human  countenance  with  what  is  termed  ex- 
pression. Two  small  gray  eyes  twinkled  feebly 
in  the  midst,  like  two  stars  of  lesser  magnitude 
in  a hazy  firmament,  and  his  full-fed  cheeks, 
which  seemed  to  have  taken  toll  of  everything 
that  went  into  his  mouth,  were  curiously  mot- 
tled and  streaked  with  dusky  red,  like  a spit- 
zenberg  apple. 

His  habits  were  as  regular  as  his  person. 
He  daily  took  his  four  stated  meals,  appropri- 
ating exactly  an  hour  to  each  ; he  smoked  and 
doubted  eight  hours,  and  he  slept  the  remaining 
twelve  of  the  four-and-twenty.  Such  was  the 
renowned  Wouter  Van  Twiller, — a true  phil- 
osopher, for  his  mind  was  either  elevated  above, 


sag  ^ 

VOL.  1 — ic;  ' 


B 1bi6tor^  of  IRevv  l^ork 

or  tranquilly  settled  below,  the  cares  and 
perplexities  of  this  world.  He  had  lived  in  it 
for  years,  without  feeling  the  least  curiosity  to 
know  whether  the  sun  revolved  round  it,  or  it 
round  the  sun  ; and  he  had  watched,  for  at 
least  half  a century,  the  smoke  curling  from  his 
pipe  to  the  ceiling,  without  once  troubling  his 
head  with  any  of  those  numerous  theories  by 
which  a philosopher  would  have  perplexed  his 
brain,  in  accounting  for  its  rising  above  the 
surrounding  atmosphere. 

In  his  council  he  presided  with  great  state 
and  solemnity.  He  sat  in  a huge  chair  of  solid 
oak,  hewn  in  the  celebrated  forest  of  the 
Hague,  fabricated  by  an  experienced  timmer- 
man  of  Amsterdam,  and  curiously  carved  about 
the  arms  and  feet,  into  exact  imitations  of 
gigantic  eagle’s  claws.  Instead  of  a sceptre, 
he  swayed  a long  Turkish  pipe,  wrought  with 
jasmin  and  amber,  which  had  been  presented 
to  a stadtholder  of  Holland  at  the  conclusion  of 
a treaty  with  one  of  the  petty  Barbary  powers. 
In  this  stately  chair  would  he  sit,  and  this  mag- 
nificent pipe  would  he  smoke,  shaking  his  right 
knee  with  a constant  motion,  and  fixing  his 
eye  for  hours  together  upon  a little  print  of  Am- 
sterdam, which  hung  in  a black  frame  against 
the  opposite  wall  of  the  council-chamber.  Nay, 
it  has  even  been  said,  that  when  any  delibera- 


Governor  Dan  ^Twiller 


tion  of  extraordinary  length  and  intricacy  was 
on  the  carpet,  the  renowned  Wouter  would  shut 
his  eyes  for  full  two  hours  at  a time,  that  he 
might  not  be  disturbed  by  external  objects  ; 
and  at  such  times  the  internal  commotion  of  his 
mind  was  evinced  by  certain  regular  guttural 
sounds,  which  his  admirers  declared  were 
merely  the  noise  of  conflict,  made  by  his 
contending  doubts  and  opinions. 

It  is  with  infinite  difficulty  I have  been 
enabled  to  collect  these  biographical  anecdotes 
of  the  great  man  under  consideration.  The 
facts  respecting  him  were  so  scattered  and 
vague,  and  divers  of  them  so  questionable  in 
point  of  authenticity,  that  I have  had  to  give 
up  the  search  after  many,  and  decline  the 
admission  of  still  more,  which  would  have 
tended  to  heighten  the  coloring  of  his  portrait. 

I have  been  the  more  anxious  to  delineate 
fully  the  person  and  habits  of  Wouter  Van 
Twiller,  from  the  consideration  that  he  was  not 
only  the  first,  but  also  the  best  governor  that 
ever  presided  over  this  ancient  and  respectable 
province  ; and  so  tranquil  and  benevolent  was 
his  reign,  that  I do  not  find  throughout  the 
whole  of  it  a single  instance  of  any  offender 
being  brought  to  punishment, — a most  indu- 
bitable sign  of  a merciful  governor,  and  a case 
unparalleled,  excepting  in  the  reign  of  the 



B *n3i6tor^  ot  IRew  lorf? 


illustrious  King  Log,  from  whom,  it  is  hinted, 
the  renowned  Van  Twiller  was  a lineal  de- 

The  very  outset  of  the  career  of  this  ex- 
cellent magistrate  was  distinguished  by  an 
example  of  legal  acumen,  that  gave  flattering 
presage  of  a wise  and  equitable  administration. 
The  morning  after  he  had  been  installed  in  office, 
and,  at  the  moment  that  he^  was  making  his 
breakfast  from  a prodigious  earthen  dish,  filled 
with  milk  and  Indian  pudding,  he  was  inter- 
rupted by  the  appearance  of  Wandle  Schoon- 
hoven,  a very  important  old  burgher  of  New 
Amsterdam,  who  complained  bitterly  of  one 
Barent  Bleecker,  inasmuch  as  he  refused  to 
come  to  a settlement  of  accounts,  seeing  that 
there  was  a heavy  balance  in  favor  of  the  said 
Wandle.  Governor  Van  Twiller,  as  I have 
alread}^  observed,  was  a man  of  few  words  ; he 
was  likewise  a mortal  enemy  to  multiplying 
writings — or  being  disturbed  at  his  breakfast. 
Having  listened  attentively  to  the  statement  of 
Wandle  Schoonhoven,  giving  an  occasional 
grunt,  as  he  shovelled  a spoonful  of  Indian 
pudding  into  his  mouth, — either  as  a sign  that 
he  relished  the  dish,  or  comprehended  the 
story, — he  called  unto  him  his  constable,  and 
pulling  out  of  his  breeches-pocket  a huge  jack- 
knife, despatched  it  after  the  defendant  as  a 

Governor  Dan  ^wilier 

summons,  accompanied  by  his  tobacco-box  as  a 

This  summary  process  was  as  effectual  in 
those  simple  days  as  was  the  seal-ring  of 
the  great  Haroun-al-Raschid  among  the  true 


believers.  The  two  parties  being  confronted 
before  him,  each  produced  a book  of  accounts, 
written  in  a language  and  character  that  would 
have  puzzled  any  but  a High-Dutch  commen- 
tator, or  a learned  decipherer  of  Egyptian 
obelisks.  The  sage  Wouter  took  them  one 



B Ibietov^  of  IRew  lj)orK 

after  the  other,  and  having  poised  them  in  his 
hands,  and  attentively  counted  over  the  num- 
ber of  leaves,  fell  straightway  into  a very  great 
doubt,  and  smoked  for  half  an  hour  without  say- 
ing a word  ; at  length  laying  his  finger  beside 
his  nose,  and  shutting  his  eyes  for  a moment, 
with  the  air  of  a man  who  has  just  caught  a 
subtle  idea  by  the  tail,  he  slowly  took  his 
pipe  from  his  mouth,  puffed  forth  a column 
of  tobacco-smoke,  and  with  marvellous  gravity 
and  solemnity  pronounced,  that,  having  care- 
fully counted  over  the  leaves  and  weighed  the 
books,  it  was  found,  that  one  was  just  as  thick 
and  as  heavy  as  the  other  : therefore,  it  was 
the  final  opinion  of  the  court  that  the  ac- 
counts were  equally  balanced  : therefore,  Wan- 
dle  should  give  Barent  a receipt,  and  Barent 
should  give  Wandle  a receipt,  and  the  consta- 
ble should  pay  the  costs. 

The  decision,  being  .straightway  made  known, 
diffused  general  joy  throughout  New  Amster- 
dam, for  the  people  immediately  perceived  that 
they  had  a ver}^  wise  and  equitable  magistrate 
to  rule  over  them.  But  its  happiest  effect  was, 
that  not  another  lawsuit  took  place  throughout 
the  whole  of  his  administration  ; and  the  office 
of  constable  fell  into  .such  decay  that  there 
was  not  one  of  lo.sel  scouts  known  in  the 
province  for  many  3^ear.s.  I am  the  more  par- 


Governor  Dan  ^Iwiller 

ticiilar  in  dwelling  on  this  transaction,  not 
only  because  I deem  it  one  of  the  most  sage 
and  righteous  judgments  on  record,  and  well 
worthy  the  attention  of  modern  magistrates,  but 
because  it  was  a miraculous  event  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  renowned  Wouter — being  the  only 
time  he  was  ever  known  to  come  to  a decision 
in  the  whole  course  of  his  life. 

Cbapter  n 


N treating  of  the  early  gov- 
ernors of  the  province,  I 
must  caution  my  read- 
. ers  against  confounding 
them,  in  point  of  dig- 
nity and  power,  with 
those  worthy  gentlemen 
who  are  whimsically  de- 

governors  in 
this  enlightened  repub- 
lic,— a set  of  unhappy  victims  of  popularit}’-, 
who  are,  in  fact,  the  most  dependent,  hen- 
pecked beings  in  the  community  ; doomed  to 
bear  the  secret  goadings  and  corrections  of 
their  own  party,  and  the  sneers  and  revilings 
of  the  whole  world  beside  ; set  up,  like  geese 
at  Christmas  holidays,  to  be  pelted  and  shot  at 

Zbc  :t6oarC)  of  /nbagistratea 


by  ever>"  whipster  and  vagabond  in  the  land. 
On  the  contrary,  the  Dutch  governors  enjoyed 
that  uncontrolled  authority  vested  in  all  com- 
manders of  distant  colonies  or  territories.  They 
were,  in  a manner,  absolute  despots  in  their 
little  domains,  lording  it,  if  so  disposed,  over 
both  law  and  gospel,  and  accountable  to  none 
but  the  mother-country ; which  it  is  well 
known  is  astonishingly  deaf  to  all  complaints 
against  its  governors,  provided  they  discharge 
the  main  duty  of  their  station — squeezing  out 
a good  revenue.  This  hint  will  be  of  impor- 
tance, to  prevent  my  readers  from  being  seized 
with  doubt  and  incredulity,  whenever,  in  the 
course  of  this  authentic  history,  they  encoun- 
ter the  uncommon  circumstance  of  a governor 
acting  with  independence,  and  in  opposition  to 
the  opinions  of  the  multitude. 

To  assist  the  doubtful  Wouter  in  the  arduous 
business  of  legislation,  a board  of  magistrates 
was  appointed,  which  presided  immediately 
over  the  police.  This  potent  body  consisted 
of  a schout  or  bailiff,  with  powers  between 
those  of  the  present  mayor  and  sheriff ; five  bur- 
germeesters,  who  were  equivalent  to  aldermen  ; 
and  five  schepens,  who  officiated  as  scrubs, 
subdevils,  or  bottle-holders  to  the  burger- 
meesters,  in  the  same  manner  as  do  assistant 
aldermen  to  their  principals  at  the  present 


B Ibistor^  of  Bcw  lotk 

day, — it  being  their  duty  to  fill  the  pipes  of 
the  lordly  burgermeesters,  hunt  the  markets 
for  delicacies  for  corporation  dinners,  and  to 
discharge  such  other  little  offices  of  kindness 
as  were  occasionally  required.  It  was,  more- 
over, tacitly  understood,  though  not  specifically 
enjoined,  that  they  should  consider  themselves 
as  butts  for  the  blunt  wits  of  the  burger- 
meesters, and  should  laugh  ^most  heartily  at 
I all  their  jokes  ; but  this  last  was  a duty  as 
rarely  called  in  action  in  those  days  as  it  is 
at  present,  and  was  shortly  remitted,  in  con- 
sequence of  the  tragical  death  of  a fat  little 
schepen,  who  actually  died  of  suffocation  in  an 
unsuccCvSsful  effort  to  force  a laugh  at  one  of 
burgermee.ster  Van  Zandt’s  best  jokes. 

In  return  for  these  humble  services,  they 
were  permitted  to  say  yes  and  no  at  the  council- 
board,  and  to  have  that  enviable  privilege,  the 
run  of  the  public  kitchen, — being  graciously 
permitted  to  eat,  and  drink,  and  smoke,  at  all 
; those  snug  junketings  and  public  gormandiz- 
ings  for  which  the  ancient  magistrates  were 
equally  famous  with  their  modern  successors. 
The  post  of  schepen,  therefore,  like  that  of 
assistant  alderman,  was  eagerly  coveted  by  all 
your  burghers  of  a certain  description,  who 
have  a hugh  relish  for  good  feeding,  and  an 
I humble  ambition  to  be  great  men  in  a small 

way, — who  thirst  after  a little  brief  authority, 
that  shall  render  them  the  terror  of  the  alms- 
house and  the  bridewell, — that  shall  enable 
them  to  lord  it  over  obsequious  poverty,  va- 
grant vice,  outcast  prostitution,  and  hunger- 
driven  dishonesty,— that  shall  give  to  their 
beck  a houndlike  pack  of  catchpolls  and 
bumbailiffs — tenfold  greater  rogues  than  the 
culprits  they  hunt  down  ! My  readers  will 



excuse  this  sudden  warmth,  which  I confess  is 
unbecoming  of  a grave  historian, — but  I have 
a mortal  antipathy  to  catchpolls,  bumbailiffs, 
and  little-great  men. 

The  ancient  magistrates  of  this  city  corre- 
sponded with  those  of  the  present  time  no  less 
in  form,  magnitude,  and  intellect,  than  in 
prerogative  and  privilege.  The  burgomasters, 
like  our  aldermen,  were  generally  chosen  by 


weight, — and  not  only  the  weight  of  the  body, 
but  likewise  the  weight  of  the  head.  It  is  a 
maxim  practically  observed  in  all  honest,  plain- 
thinking, regular  cities,  that  an  alderman 
should  be  fat, — and  the  wisdom  of  this  can  be 
proved  to  a certainty.  That  the  body  is  in 
some  measure  an  image  of  the  mind,  or  rather 
that  the  mind  is  moulded  to  the  body,  like 
melted  lead  to  the  clay  in  which  it  is  cast,  has 
been  insisted  on  by  many  philosophers,  who 
have  made  human  nature  their  peculiar  study  ; 
for,  as  a learned  gentleman  of  our  own  city  ob- 
serves, ‘ ‘ there  is  a constant  relation  between 
the  moral  character  of  all  intelligent  creatures 
and  their  physical  constitution,  between  their 
habits  and  the  structure  of  their  bodies.” 
Thus  w^e  see  that  a lean,  spare,  diminutive 
body  is  generally  accompanied  by  a petulant, 
restless,  meddling  mind  : either  the  mind 
wears  down  the  body,  by  its  continual  motion, 
or  else  the  body,  not  affording  the  mind  suffi- 
cient house-room,  keeps  it  continually  in  a 
state  of  fretfulness,  tossing  and  worrying 
about  from  the  uneasiness  of  its  situation. 
Whereas  3^our  round,  sleek,  fat,  unwieldy  pe- 
riphery is  ever  attended  by  a mind  like  itself, 
tranquil,  torpid,  and  at  ease  ; and  we  may 
always  observe,  that  your  well-fed,  robustious 
burghers  are  in  general  very  tenacious  of  their 


^Tbe  2)octrinc6  of  plato 

ease  and  comfort,  being  great  enemies  to  noise, 
discord,  and  disturbance, — and  surely  none  are 
more  likely  to  study  the  public  tranquillity  than 
those  who  are  so  careful  of  their  own.  Who 
ever  hears  of  fat  men  heading  a riot,  or  herd- 


ing  together  in  turbulent  mobs? — no — no  ; it 
is  your  lean,  hungry  men  who  are  continually 
worrying  society,  and  setting  the  whole  com- 
munity by  the  ears. 

The  divine  Plato,  whose  doctrines  are  not 

’/  / 

sufficiently  attended  to  by  philosophers  of  the 
present  age,  allows  to  every  man  three  souls  : 
one,  immortal  and  rational,  seated  in  the  brain, 
that  it  may  overlook  and  regulate  the  body  ; 
a second,  consisting  of  the  surly  and  irascible 
passions  which,  like  belligerent  powers,  lie 
encamped  around  the  heart  ; a third,  mortal 
and  sensual,  destitute  of  reason,  gross  and 
brutal  in  its  propensities,  and  enchained  in  the 
belly,  that  it  may  not  disturb  the  divine  soul 
by  its  ravenous  bowlings.  Now,  according  to 
this  excellent  theory,  what  can  be  more  clear 
than  that  your  fat  alderman  is  most  likely 
to  have  the  most  regular  and  well-conditioned 
mind.  His  head  is  like  a huge  spherical 
chamber,  containing  a prodigious  mass  of  soft 
brains,  whereon  the  rational  soul  lies  softly 
and  snugly  couched,  as  on  a feather-bed  ; and 
the  eyes,  which  are  the  windows  of  the  bed- 
chamber, are  usually  half  closed,  that  its 
slumberings  may  not  be  disturbed  by  external 
objects.  A mind  thus  comfortably  lodged, 
and  protected  from  disturbance,  is  manifestly 
most  likely  to  perform  its  functions  with  regu- 
larity and  ease.  By  dint  of  good  feeding, 
moreover,  the  mortal  and  malignant  soul, 
which  is  confined  in  the  belly,  and  which,  by 
its  raging  and  roaring,  puts  the  irritable  soul 
in  the  neighborhood  of  the  heart  in  an  intoler- 

1bow  to  /iRake  a ILcnient 

able  passion,  and  thus  renders  men  crusty  and 
quarrelsome  when  hungry,  is  completel}^  paci- 
fied, silenced,  and  put  to  rest, — whereupon  a 
host  of  honest,  good- fellow  qualities  and  kind- 
hearted  affections,  which  had  lain  perdue,  slyly 
peeping  out  of  the  loop-holes  of  the  heart,  find- 
ing this  Cerberus  asleep,  do  pluck  up  their 
spirits,  turn  out  one  and  all  in  their  holiday 
suits,  and  gambol  up  and  down  the  diaphragm, 
— disposing  their  possessor  to  laughter,  good- 
humor,  and  a thousand  friendly  offices  towards 
his  fellow-mortals. 

As  a board  of  magistrates,  formed  on  this 
principle,  think  but  very  little,  they  are  the 
less  likely  to  differ  and  wrangle  about  favorite 
opinions  ; and  as  they  generally  transact  busi- 
ness upon  a hearty  dinner,  they  are  naturally 
disposed  to  be  lenient  and  indulgent  in  the 
administration  of  their  duties.  Charlemagne 
was  conscious  of  this,  and  therefore  ordered  in 
his  cartularies,  that  no  judge  should  hold  a 
court  of  justice,  except  in  the  morning,  on  an 
empty  stomach  ; — a pitiful  rule,  which  I can 
never  forgive,  and  which  I warrant  bore  hard 
upon  all  the  poor  culprits  in  the  kingdom. 
The  more  enlightened  and  humane  generation 
of  the  present  day  have  taken  an  opposite 
course,  and  have  so  managed  that  the  aldermen 
are  the  best-fed  men  in  the  community  ; feast- 



B Ibistori?  of  IRcw  ]it)orf? 

iiig  lustily  on  the  fat  things  of  the  land,  and 
gorging  so  heartily  on  oysters  and  turtles,  that 
in  process  of  time  they  acquire  the  activit}^  of 
the  one,  and  the  form,  the  waddle,  and  the 
green  fat  of  the  other.  The  consequence  is,  as 
I have  just  said,  these  luxurious  feastings  do 
produce  such  a dulcet  equanimity  and  repose  of 
the  soul,  rational  and  irrational,  that  their  trans- 
actions are  proverbial  for  unvarying  monotony ; 
and  the  profound  laws  which  they  enact  in  their 
dozing  moments,  amid  the  labors  of  digestion, 
are  quietly  suffered  to  remain  as  dead  letters, 
and  never  enforced,  when  awake.  In  a word, 
your  fair,  round-bellied  burgomaster,  like  a 
full-fed  mastiff,  dozes  quietly  at  the  house-door, 
always  at  home,  and  always  at  hand  to  watch 
over  its  safety  ; but  as  to  electing  a lean, 
meddling  candidate  to  the  office,  as  has  now  and 
then  been  done,  I would  as  lief  put  a greyhound 
to  watch  the  house,  or  a race-horse  to  draw  an 

The  burgomasters,  then,  as  I have  already 
mentioned,  were  wisely  chosen  by  weight,  and 
the  schepens,  or  assistant  aldermen,  were  ap- 
pointed to  attend  upon  them  and  help  them 
eat ; but  the  latter,  in  the  course  of  time,  when 
they  had  been  fed  and  fattened  into  sufficient 
bulk  of  body  and  drowsiness  of  brain,  became 
very  eligible  candidates  for  the  burgomasters’ 


‘Wflouter  auD  Ibis  Scbcpens  241 

chairs,  having  fairly  eaten  themselves  into 
office,  as  a mouse  eats  his  way  into  a com- 
fortable lodgment  in  a goodly,  blue-nosed, 
skimmed-milk,  New-England  cheese. 

Nothing  could  equal  the  profound  delibera- 
tions that  took  place  between  the  renowned 
Wouter  and  these  his  worthy  compeers,  unless 
it  be  the  sage  divans  of  some  of  our  modern 
corporations.  They  would  sit  for  hours, 
smoking  and  dozing  over  public  affairs,  with- 
out speaking  a word  to  interrupt  that  perfect 
stillness  so  necessary  to  deep  reflection.  Under 
the  sober  sway  of  Wouter  Van  Twiller  and 
these  his  worthy  coadjutors,  the  infant  settle- 
ment waxed  vigorous  apace,  gradually  emerg- 
ing from  the  swamps  and  forests,  and  exhibiting 
that  mingled  appearance  of  town  and  country, 
customary  in  new  cities,  and  which  at  this 
day  may  be  witnessed  in  the  city  of  Washing- 
ton,— that  immense  metropolis,  which  makes 
so  glorious  an  appearance  on  paper. 

It  was  a pleasing  sight,  in  those  times,  to 
behold  the  honest  burgher,  like  a patriarch  of 
yore,  seated  on  the  bench  at  the  door  of  his  white- 
washed house,  under  the  shade  of  some  gigantic 
sycamore  or  overhanging  willow.  Here  would 
he  smoke  his  pipe  of  a sultry  afternoon,  en- 
joying the  soft  southern  breeze,  and  listening 
with  silent  gratulation  to  the  clucking  of  his 

VOL.  I.— 16 

242  B Ibietor^  of  IWew  l^orft 

hens,  the  cackling  of  his  geese,  and  the  sonorous 
grunting  of  his  swine, — that  combination  of 
farm-yard  melody  which  may  truly  be  said  to 
have  a silver  sound,  inasmuch  as  it  conveys  a 
certain  assurance  of  profitable  marketing. 

The  modern  spectator,  who  wanders  through 
the  streets  of  this  populous  city,  can  scarcely 
form  an  idea  of  the  different  appearance  they 
presented  in  the  primitive  days  of  the  Doubter. 
The  busy  hum  of  multitudes,  the  shouts  of 
revelry,  the  rumbling  equipages  of  fashion, 
the  rattling  of  accursed  carts,  and  all  the  spirit- 
grieving  sounds  of  brawling  commerce,  were 
unknown  in  the  settlement  of  New  Amsterdam. 
The  grass  grew  quietly  in  the  highways  ; the 
bleating  sheep  and  frolicsome  calves  sported 
about  the  verdant  ridge,  where  now  the  Broad- 
way loungers  take  their  morning  stroll  ; the 
cunning  fox  or  ravenous  wolf  skulked  in  the 
woods,  where  now  are  to  be  seen  the  dens  of 
Gomez  and  his  righteous  fraternity  of  money-  j 
brokers  ; and  flocks  of  vociferous  geese  cackled  \ 
about  the  fields  where  now  the  great  Tammany  j 
wigwam  and  the  patriotic  tavern  of  Martling  1 
echo  with  the  wranglings  of  the  mob. 

In  these  good  times  did  a true  and  enviable 
equality  of  rank  and  property  prevail,  equally 
removed  from  the  arrogance  of  wealth,  and  the 
servility  and  heart-burnings  of  repining  pov- 



B Iblstors  of  IFlew  JJorft 

erty  ; and,  what  in  my  mind  is  still  more  con- 
ducive to  tranquillity  and  harmony  among 
friends,  a happy  equality  of  intellect  was  like- 
wise to  be  seen.  The  minds  of  the  good  burgh- 
ers of  New  Amsterdam  seemed  all  to  have  been 
cast  in  one  mould,  and  to  be  those  honest,  blunt 
minds,  which,  like  certain  manufactures,  are 
made  by  the  gross,  and  considered  as  exceed- 
ingly good  for  common  use. 

Thus  it  happens  that  your  true  dull  minds 
are  generally  preferred  for  public  employ,  and 
especially  promoted  to  city  honors  ; your  keen 
intellects,  like  razors,  being  considered  too 
sharp  for  common  service.  I know  that  it  is 
common  to  rail  at  the  unequal  distribution  of 
riches,  as  the  great  source  of  jealousies,  broils, 
and  heart-breakings  ; whereas,  for  my  part,  I 
verily  believe  it  is  the  sad  inequality  of  intel- 
lect that  prevails,  that  embroils  communities 
more  than  anything  else  ; and  I have  remarked 
that  3^our  knowing  people,  who  are  so  much 
wiser  than  anybody  else,  are  eternally  keep- 
ing society  in  a ferment.  Happily  for  New 
Amsterdam,  nothing  of  the  kind  was  known 
within  its  walls ; the  very  words  of  learn- 
ing, education,  taste,  and  talents  were  unheard 
of ; a bright  genius  was  an  animal  unknown, 
and  a blue-stocking  lady  would  have  been 
regarded  with  as  much  wonder  as  a horned 





CTbc  3Bles9in99  of  H^norance 

frog  or  a fiery  dragon.  No  man,  in  fact,  seemed 
to  know  more  than  his  neighbor,  nor  any  man 
to  know  more  than  an  honest  man  ought  to 
know,  who  has  nobody’s  business  to  mind  but 
his  own ; the  parson  and  the  council  clerk 

Vll/'W  , 


were  the  only  men  that  could  read  in  that 
community,  and  the  sage  Van  Twiller  always 
signed  his  name  with  a cross. 

Thrice  happy  and  ever  to  be  envied  little 
Burgh  ! existing  in  all  the  security  of  harmless 
insignificance, — unnoticed  and  unenvied  by  the 

world,  without  ambition,  without  vainglory, 
without  riches,  without  learning,  and  all  their 
train  of  carking  cares  ; — and  as  of  yore,  in  the 
better  days  of  man,  the  deities  were  wont  to 
visit  him  on  earth  and, bless  his  rural  habita- 
tions, so,  we  are  told,  in  the  sylvan  days  of 
New  Amsterdam,  the  good  St.  Nicholas  would 
often  make  his  appearance  in  his  beloved  city, 
of  a holiday  afternoon,  riding  jollily  among  the 
tree-tops,  or  over  the  roofs  of  the  houses,  now 
and  then  drawing  forth  magnificent  presents 
from  his  breeches-pockets,  and  dropping  them 
down  the  chimneys  of  his  favorites.  Whereas, 
in  these  degenerate  days  of  iron  and  brass,  he 
never  shows  us  the  light  of  his  countenance, 
nor  ever  visits  us,  save  one  night  in  the  year, 
when  he  rattles  down  the  chimneys  of  the  de- 
scendants of  patriarchs,  confining  his  presents 
merely  to  the  children,  in  token  of  the  degen- 
eracy of  the  parents. 

Such  are  the  comfortable  and  thriving  effects 
of  a fat  government.  The  province  of  the  New 
Netherlands,  destitute  of  wealth,  possessed  a 
sweet  tranquillity  that  wealth  could  never  pur- 
chase. There  were  neither  public  commotions, 
nor  private  quarrels  ; neither  parties,  nor  sects, 
nor  schisms  ; neither  persecutions,  nor  trials, 
nor  punishments  ; nor  were  there  counsellors, 
attorneys,  catchpolls,  or  hangmen.  Every 



Cbe  B\?en  {Tenor  of  flbeir  247 


man  attended  to  what  little  business  he  was 


lucky  enough  to  have,  or  neglected  it  if  he 
pleased,  without  asking  the  opinion  of  his 

neighbor.  In  those  days  nobody  meddled  with  | 

concerns  above  his  comprehension  ; nor  thrust 

his  nose  into  other  people’s  affairs  ; nor  ne- 
glected to  correct  his  own  conduct,  and  reform 
his  own  character,  in  his  zeal  to  pull  to  pieces 
the  characters  of  others  ; but,  in  a word,  every 


respectable  citizen  ate  when  he  was  not  hungry. 

drank  when  he  was  not  thirsty,  and  went  regu- 

W m 

larly  to  bed  when  the  sun  set  and  the  fowls 

1 ) 

went  to  roost,  whether  he  was  sleepy  or  not  ; 

\ il 

all  which  tended  so  remarkably  to  the  popula- 

V  / 


tion  of  the  settlement,  that  I am  told  every 


dutiful  wife  throughout  New  Amsterdam  made 
a point  of  enriching  her  husband  with  at  least 
one  child  a year  and  very  often  a brace, — this 



superabundance  of  good  things  clearly  consti- 
tuting the  true  luxury  of  life,  according  to  the 


favorite  Dutch  maxim,  that  “ more  than  enough 
constitutes  a feast.”  Everything,  therefore, 
went  on  exactly  as  it  should  do,  and  in  the  usual 
words  employed  by  historians  to  express  the 


welfare  of  a country,  ‘ ‘ the  profoundest  tran- 

l'^- 1 

quillity  and  repose  reigned  throughout  the  prov- 

I  [,) 



1 ■'  M 


Chapter  1I1F1I 


H /jANIFOLD  are  the  tastes 

I I dispositions  of  the 

f enlightened /i^erafi,  who 
J'f  / pages  of 

history.  Some  there  be 
' < whose  hearts  are  brim- 

ful  of  the  yeast  of  cour- 
'.LSa  age,  and  whose  bosoms 

do  work,  and  swell,  and 
foam,  with  untried  valor,  like  a barrel  of  new 
cider,  or  a train-band  captain,  fresh  from  under 
the  hands  of  his  tailor.  This'  doughty  class 
of  readers  can  be  satisfied  with  nothing  but 
bloody  battles,  and  horrible  encounters  ; they 
must  be  continually  storming  forts,  sacking 
cities,  springing  mines,  marching  up  to  the 
muzzles  of  cannon,  charging  bayonet  through 
every  page,  and  revelling  in  gunpowder  and 

IDadous  Xitcrar^  ^Tastes 

carnage.  Others,  who  are  of  a less  martial,  but 
equally  ardent  imagination,  and  who,  withal, 
are  a little  given  to  the  marvellous,  will  dwell 
with  wondrous  satisfaction  on  descriptions 
of  prodigies,  unheard-of  events,  hair-breadth 
escapes,  hardy  adventures,  and  all  those  aston- 
ishing narrations  which  just  amble  along 
the  boundary  line  of  possibility.  A third 
class,  who,  not  to  speak  slightly  of  them,  are 
of  a lighter  turn,  and  skim  over  the  records  of 
past  times,  as  they  do  over  the  edifying  pages 
of  a novel,  merely  for  relaxation  and  innocent 
amusement,  do  singularl}^  delight  in  treasons, 
executions,  Sabine  rapes,  Tarquin  outrages, 
conflagrations,  murders,  and  all  the  other  cata- 
logue of  hideous  crimes,  which,  like  cayenne  in 
cookery,  do  give  a pungency  and  flavor  to  the 
dull  detail  of  history.  While  a fourth  class, 
of  more  philosophic  habits,  do  diligently  pore 
over  the  musty  chronicles  of  time,  to  investi- 
gate the  operations  of  the  human  kind,  and 
watch  the  gradual  changes  in  men  and  man- 
ners, effected  by  the  progress  of  knowledge,  the 
vicissitudes  of  events,  or  the  influence  of  situ- 

If  the  three  first  classes  find  but  little  where- 
withal to  solace  themselves  in  the  tranquil 
reign  of  Wouter  Van  T wilier,  I entreat  them  to 
exert  their  patience  for  a while,  and  bear  with 



B Ibistor^  of  IRew  )t)ork 

the  tedious  picture  of  happiness,  prosperity,  and 
peace,  which  my  dut^^  as  a faithful  historian 
obliges  me  to  draw  ; and  I promise  them,  that, 
as  soon  as  I can  possibly  alight  on  anything 
horrible,  uncommon,  or  impossible,  it  shall  go 
hard,  but  I will  make  it  afford  them  entertain- 
ment. This  being  premised,  I turn  with  great 
complacency  to  the  fourth  class  of  my  readers, 
who  are  men,  or,  if  possible,  women  after  my 
own  heart  ; grave,  philosophical,  and  investi- 
gating ; fond  of  analyzing  characters,  of  taking 
a start  from  first  causes,  and  so  hunting  a 
nation  down,  through  all  the  mazes  of  innova- 
tion and  improvement.  Such  will  naturally  be 
anxious  to  witness  the  first  development  of  the 
newly-hatched  colony,  and  the  primitive  man- 
ners and  customs  prevalent  among  its  inhabi- 
tants, during  the  halcyon  reign  of  Van  Twiller, 
or  the  Doubter. 

I will  not  grieve  their  patience,  however,  b}" 
describing  minutely  the  increase  and  improve- 
ment of  New  Amsterdam.  Their  own  imagi- 
nations will  doubtless  present  to  them  the  good 
burghers,  like  so  many  painstaking  and  perse- 
vering beavers,  slowly  and  surely  pursuing  their 
labors  : they  will  behold  the  prosperous  trans- 
formation from  the  rude  log  hut  to  the  stately 
Dutch  mansion,  with  brick  front,  glazed  win- 
dows, and  tiled  roof ; from  the  tangled  thicket 


1bow  tbe  Streets  ‘Wllere  /ibaDe  251 

to  the  luxuriant  cabbage-garden  ; and  from  the 
skulking  Indian  to  the  ponderous  burgomaster. 
In  a word,  they  will  picture  to  themselves  the 
steady,  silent,  and  undeviating  march  of  pros- 
perity, incident  to  a city  destitute  of  pride  or 
ambition,  cherished  by  a fat  government,  and 
whose  citizens  do  nothing  in  a hurry. 

The  sage  council,  as  has  been  mentioned  in 
a preceding  chapter,  not  being  able  to  deter- 
mine upon  any  plan  for  the  building  of  their 
city, — the  cows,  in  a laudable  fit  of  patriotism, 
took  it  under  their  peculiar  charge,  and,  as 
they  went  to  and  from  pasture,  established 
paths  through  the  bushes,  on  each  side  of 
which  the  good  folks  built  their  houses, — 
which  is  one  cause  of  the  rambling  and  pic- 
turesque turns  and  labyrinths  which  distin- 
guish certain  streets  of  New  York  at  this  very 

The  houses  of  the  higher  class  were  gener- 
ally constructed  of  wood,  excepting  the  gable 
end  which  was  of  small  black  and  yellow 
Dutch  bricks,  and  always  faced  on  the  street, 
as  our  ancestors,  like  their  descendants,  were 
very  much  given  to  outward  show,  and  were 
noted  for  putting  the  best  leg  foremost.  The 
house  was  always  furnished  with  abundance 
of  large  doors  and  small  windows  on  every 
floor,  the  date  of  its  erection  was  curiously 

252  B Ibistor^  of  IRew  ll)ork 

designated  by  iron  figures  on  the  front,  and  on 
the  top  of  the  roof  was  perched  a fierce  little 
weathercock,  to  let  the  family  into  the  impor- 
tant secret  which  way  the  wind  blew. 

These,  like  the  weathercocks  on  the  tops  of 
our  steeples,  pointed  so  many  different  ways, 
that  every  man  could  have  a wind  to  his  mind  ; 
— the  most  stanch  and  loyal  citizens,  however, 
always  went  according  to  the  weathercock  on 
the  top  of  the  governor’s  house,  which  was 
certainly  the  most  correct,  as  he  had  a trusty 
servant  employed  every  morning  to  climb  up 
and  set  it  to  the  right  quarter. 

In  those  good  days  of  simplicity  and  sunshine, 
a passion  for  cleanliness  was  the  leading  princi- 
ple in  domestic  economy,  and  the  universal  test 
of  an  able  housewife, — a character  which  formed 
the  utmost  ambition  of  our  unenlightened 
grandmothers.  The  front- door  was  never 
opened,  except  on  marriages,  funerals,  New- 
Year’s  days,  the  festival  of  St.  Nicholas,  or 
some  such  great  occasion.  It  was  ornamented 
with  a gorgeous  brass  knocker,  curiously 
wrought,  sometimes  in  the  device  of  a dog,  and 
sometimes  of  a lion’s  head,  and  was  daily  bur- 
nished with  such  religious  zeal,  that  it  was  oft- 
times  worn  out  by  the  very  precautions  taken 
for  its  preservation.  The  whole  house  was 
constantly  in  a state  of  inundation,  under  the 

XLbc  (3ranD  parlor 

discipline  of  mops  and  brooms  and  scrubbing- 
brushes  ; and  the  good  housewives  of  those 
days  were  a kind  of  amphibious  animal, 
delighting  exceedingly  to  be  dabbling  in  water, 
— insomuch  that  an  historian  of  the  day  gravely 
tells  us,  that  many  of  his  townswomen  grew  to 
have  webbed  fingers  like  unto  a duck  ; and 


some  of  them,  he  had  little  doubt,  could  the 
matter  be  examined  into,  would  be  found  to 
have  the  tails  of  mermaids, — but  this  I look 
upon  to  be  a mere  sport  of  fancy,  or,  what  is 
worse,  a wilful  misrepresentation. 

The  grand  parlor  was  the  sanctum  sanc- 
torum, where  the  passion  for  cleaning  was 


B IfDistor^  of  IRew  l|)orF? 

indulged  without  control.  In  this  sacred  apart- 
ment no  one  was  permitted  to  enter,  excepting 
the  mistress  and  her  confidential  maid,  who 
visited  it  once  a week,  for  the  purpose  of  giving  | 
it  a thorough  cleaning,  and  putting  things  to 
rights, — always  taking  the  precaution  of 
leaving  their  shoes  at  the  door,  and  entering 
devoutly  on  their  stocking-feet.  After  scrub- 
bing the  floor,  sprinkling  it  with  fine  white  ; 
sand,  which  was  curiously  stroked  into  angles  ! 
and  curves  and  rhomboids  with  a broom, — 
after  washing  the  windows,  rubbing  and  polish-  i 
ing  the  furniture,  and  putting  a new  bunch 
of  evergreens  in  the  fireplace, — the  window- 
shutters  were  again  closed  to  keep  out  the  flies,  j 
and  the  room  carefully  locked  up  until  the 
revolution  of  time  brought  round  the  weekly 
cleaning-day.  I 

As  to  the  family,  they  always  entered  in  at  i 
the  gate,  and  most  generally  lived  in  the  ' 
kitchen.  To  have  seen  a numerous  household 
assembled  round  the  fire,  one  would  have 
imagined  that  he  was  transported  back  to  those 
happy  days  of  primeval  simplicity,  which  float 
before  our  imaginations  like  golden  visions.  ; 
The  fireplaces  were  of  a truly  patriarchal  mag-  ' 
nitude,  where  the  whole  family,  old  and  young, 
master  and  servant,  black  and  white,  nay, 
even  the  very  cat  and  dog,  enjoyed  a com-  ; 

H)ome6tic  If^abits 

munity  of  privilege,  and  had  each  a right  to 
a corner.  Here  the  old  burgher  would  sit  in 
perfect  silence,  puffing  his  pipe,  looking  in  the 
fire  with  half-shut  eyes,  and  thinking  of  noth- 
ing for  hours  together  ; the  goede  vrouw,  on  the 
opposite  side,  would  employ  herself  diligently 
in  spinning  yarn,  or  knitting  stockings.  The 


young  folks  would  crowd  around  the  hearth, 
listening  with  breathless  attention  to  some  old 
crone  of  a negro,  who  was  the  oracle  of  the 
family,  and  who,  perched  like  a raven  in  a 
corner  of  the  chimney,  would  croak  forth  for  a 
long  winter  afternoon  a string  of  incredible 
stories  about  New-Kngland  witches, — grisly 

256  B Ibiators  of  IRcw  l^ork  | 

ghosts,  horses  without  heads, — and  hair- 
breadth escapes,  and  bloody  encounters  among 
the  Indians. 

In  those  happy  days  a well-regulated  family  i 
always  rose  with  the  dawn,  dined  at  eleven, 
and  went  to  bed  at  sunset.  Dinner  was  invari-  i 
ably  a private  meal,  and  the  fat  old  burghers 
showed  incontestable  signs  of  disapprobation 
and  uneasiness  at  being  surprised  by  a visit 
from  a neighbor  on  such  occasions.  But 
though  our  worthy  ancestors  were  singularly 
averse  to  giving  dinners,  yet  they  kept  up  the 
social  bands  of  intimacy  by  occasional  banquet- 
ings,  called  tea-parties. 

These  fashionable  parties  were  generally  | 
confined  to  the  higher  classes,  or  noblesse,  | 
that  is  to  say,  such  as  kept  their  own  cows,  j 
and  drove  their  own  wagons.  The  company  i 
commonl}"  assembled  at  three  o’clock,  and  i 
went  away  about  six,  unless  it  was  in  winter- 
time, when  the  fashionable  hours  were  a lit-  j 
tie  earlier,  that  the  ladies  might  get  home  I 
before  dark.  The  tea-table  was  crowned  with 
a huge  earthen  dish,  well  stored  with  slices 
of  fat  pork,  fried  brown,  cut  up  into  morsels,  | 
and  swimming  in  gravy.  The  company  being  I 
seated  round  the  genial  board,  and  each  fur-  | 
nished  with  a fork,  evinced  their  dexterity  in 
launching  at  the  fattest  pieces  in  this  mighty 

dish, — ill  much  the  same  manner  as  sailors 
harpoon  porpoises  at  vSea,  or  our  Indians  spear 
salmon  in  the  lakes.  Sometimes  the  table  was 
graced  with  immense  apple-pies,  or  saucers  full 
of  preserved  peaches  and  pears  ; but  it  was 
always  sure  to  boast  an  enormous  dish  of  balls 
of  sweetened  dough,  fried  in  hog’s  fat,  and 
called  doughnuts,  or  olykoeks, — a delicious 
kind  of  cake,  at  present  scarce  known  in  this 
city,  except  in  genuine  Dutch  families. 

The  tea  was  served  out  of  a majestic  Delft 
tea-pot,  ornamented  with  paintings  of  fat  lit- 
tle Dutch  shepherds  and  shepherdesses  tending 
pigs,  with  boats  sailing  in  the  air,  and  houses 
built  in  the  clouds,  and  sundry  other  ingenious 
Dutch  fantasies.  The  beaux  distinguished 
themselves  by  their  adroitness  in  replenishing 
this  pot  from  a huge  copper  tea-kettle,  which 
would  have  made  the  pigmy  macaronies  of 
these  degenerate  days  sweat  merely  to  look  at 
it.  To  sweeten  the  beverage,  a lump  of  sugar 
was  laid  beside  each  cup,  and  the  company 
alternately  nibbled  and  sipped  with  great  de- 
corum, until  an  improvement  was  introduced 
by  a shrewd  and  economic  old  lady,  which 
was  to  suspend  a large  lump  directly  over  the 
tea-table,  by  a string  from  the  ceiling,  so  that 
it  could  be  swung  from  mouth  to  mouth, — an 
ingenious  expedient,  which  is  still  kept  up  by 

VOL.  I. — 17 

i\  n 

1 A 

258  B 1F3i6tor^  of  IRew 

some  families  in  Albany,  but  which  prevails 
without  exception  in  Communipaw,  Bergen, 
Flatbiish,  and  all  our  uncontaminated  Dutch 

At  these  primitive  tea-parties  the  utmost 
propriety  and  dignity  of  deportment  prevailed. 
No  flirting  nor  coquetting, — no  gambling  of 
old  ladies,  nor  hoyden  chattering  and  romping 
of  young  ones, — no  self-satisfied  struttings  of 
wealthy  gentlemen,  with  their  brains  in  their 
pockets,  nor  amusing  conceits  and  monkey 
divertisements  of  smart  young  gentlemen, 
with  no  brains  at  all.  On  the  contrary,  the 
young  ladies  seated  themselves  demurely  in 
their  rush-bottom  chairs,  and  knit  their  own 
woollen  stockings  ; nor  ever  opened  their 
lips  excepting  to  say  yah  My7iheer,  or,  yah 
ya  Vrouw,  to  any  question  that  was  asked 
them  ; behaving  in  all  things  like  decent,  well- 
educated  damsels.  As  to  the  gentlemen,  each 
of  them  tranquilly  smoked  his  pipe,  and 
seemed  lost  in  contemplation  of  the  blue  and 
white  tiles  with  which  the  fireplaces  were 
decorated  ; wherein  sundry  passages  of  Script- 
ure were  piously  portra3^ed  : Tobit  and  his  dog 
figured  to  great  advantage ; Hainan  swung 
conspicuously  on  his  gibbet  ; and  Jonah  ap- 
peared most  manfully  bouncing  out  of  the 
whale,  like  Harlequin  through  a barrel  of  fire. 

JEttquctte  of  tbe  IRobleese 

The  parties  broke  up  without  noise  and 
without  confusion.  They  were  carried  home 
by  their  own  carriages,  that  is  to  say,  by  the 
vehicles  nature  had  provided  them,  excepting 


such  of  the  wealthy  as  could  afford  to  keep  a 
wagon.  The  gentlemen  gallantly  attended 
their  fair  ones  to  their  respective  abodes,  and 
took  leave  of  them  with  a hearty  smack  at  the 

B 1f3i6tori5  of  IRcvv  l^ork 

door  : which,  as  it  was  an  established  piece  of 
etiquette,  done  in  perfect  simplicity  and  hon- 
est}^ of  heart,  occasioned  no  scandal  at  that 
time,  nor  should  it  at  the  present  ; — if  our 
great-grandfathers  approved  of  the  custom,  it 
would  argue  a great  want  of  deference  in  their 
descendants  to  say  a word  against  it. 


Chapter  IllD 


genteeman  in  the  days  of  waeter  the 

N this  dulcet  period  of  my 
history,  when  the  beaute- 
ous island  of  Manna- 
hata  presented  a scene, 
the  very  counterpart  of 
those  glowing  pictures 
drawn  of  the  golden 
of  Saturn,  there 


was,  as  I have  before  observed,  a happy  ig- 
norance, an  honest  simplicity  prevalent  among 
its  inhabitants,  which,  were  I even  able  to 
depict,  would  be  but  little  understood  by  the 
degenerate  age  for  which  I am  doomed  to 
write.  Even  the  female  sex,  those  arch  inno- 
vators upon  the  tranquillity,  the  honesty,  and 
gray-beard  customs  of  society,  seemed  for  a 
while  to  conduct  themselves  with  incredible 
sobriety  and  comeliness. 

262  B ibistoi*^  of  IRcvv 

Their  hair,  iintortured  by  the  abominations 
of  art,  was  scrupulously  pomatumed  back 
from  their  foreheads  with  a candle,  and  cov- 
ered with  a little  cap  of  quilted  calico,  which 
fitted  exactly  to  their  heads.  Their  petticoats 
of  linsey-woolsey  were  striped  with  a variety 
of  gorgeous  dyes, — though  I must  confess 
these  gallant  garments  were  rather  short, 
scarce  reaching  below  the  knee  ; but  then  they 
made  up  in  the  number,  which  generally 
equalled  that  of  the  gentleman’s  small-clothes  ; 
and  what  is  still  more  praiseworthy,  the}^  were 
all  of  their  own  manufacture, — of  which  cir- 
cumstance, as  may  well  be  supposed,  they 
were  not  a little  vain. 

These  were  the  honest  days  in  which  every 
woman  staid  at  home,  read  the  Bible,  and  wore 
pockets, — a}’,  and  that  too  of  a goodly  size, 
fashioned  with  patchwork  into  many  curious 
devices,  and  ostentatiously  worn  on  the  out- 
side. These,  in  fact,  were  convenient  recepta- 
cles, where  all  good  housewives  carefully 
stored  away  such  things  as  they  wished  to 
have  at  hand  ; by  which  means  they  often 
came  to  be  incredibly  crammed  ; and  I remem- 
ber there  was  a story  current,  when  I was  a 
boy,  that  the  lady  of  Wouter  Van  Twiller  once 
had  occasion  to  empt}^  her  right  pocket  in 
search  of  a wooden  ladle,  when  the  contents 

filled  a couple  of  corn-baskets,  and  the  utensil 
was  discovered  lying  among  some  rubbish  in 
one  corner  ; — but  we  must  not  give  too  much 
faith  to  all  these  stories,  the  anecdotes  of  those 
remote  periods  being  very  subject  to  exaggera- 

Besides  these  notable  pockets,  they  likewise 
wore  scissors  and  pin-cushions  suspended  from 
their  girdles  by  red  ribands,  or,  among  the 
more  opulent  and  showy  classes,  by  brass,  and 
even  silver  chains, — indubitable  tokens  of 
thrifty  housewives  and  industrious  spinsters.  I 
cannot  say  much  in  vindication  of  the  short- 
ness of  the  petticoats  ; it  doubtless  was 
introduced  for  the  purpose  of  giving  the 
stockings  a chance  to  be  seen,  which  were 
generally  of  blue  worsted,  with  magnificent  red 
clocks, — or,  perhaps,  to  display  a well-turned 
ankle,  and  a neat,  though  serviceable  foot,  set 
off  by  a high-heeled  leathern  shoe,  with  a large 
and  splendid  silver  buckle.  Thus  we  find 
that  the  gentle  sex  in  all  ages  have  shown  the 
same  disposition  to  infringe  a little  upon  the 
laws  of  decorum,  in  order  to  betray  a lurking 
beauty,  or  gratify  an  innocent  love  of  finery. 

From  the  sketch  here  given,  it  will  be  seen 
that  our  good  grandmothers  differed  consider- 
ably in  their  ideas  of  a fine  figure  from  their 
scantily  dressed  descendants  of  the  present  day. 



B Ibibtor^  of  IRew  ^ovk 

A fine  lady,  in  those  times,  waddled  under  more 
clothes,  even  on  a fair  summer’s  day,  than 
would  have  clad  the  whole  bevy  of  a modern 
ball-room.  Nor  were  they  the  less  admired 
by  the  gentlemen  in  consequence  thereof.  On 
the  contrary,  the  greatness  of  a lover’s  passion 
seemed  to  increase  in  proportion  to  the  magni- 
tude of  its  object, — and  a voluminous  damsel, 
arrayed  in  a dozen  of  petticoats,  was  declared 
by  a Low- Dutch  sonneteer  of  the  province  to 
be  radiant  as  a sunflower,  and  luxuriant  as  a 
full-blown  cabbage.  Certain  it  is,  that  in 
those  days  the  heart  of  a lover  could  not  con- 
tain more  than  one  lady  at  a time  ; whereas 
the  heart  of  a modern  gallant  has  often  room 
enough  to  accommodate  half  a dozen.  The 
reason  of  which  I conclude  to  be,  that  either 
the  hearts  of  the  gentlemen  have  grown  larger, 
or  the  persons  of  the  ladies  smaller : this, 
however,  is  a question  for  physiologists  to 

But  there  was  a secret  charm  in  these  petti- 
coats, which,  no  doubt,  entered  into  the  consid- 
eration of  the  prudent  gallants.  The  wardrobe 
of  a lady  was  in  those  days  her  only  fortune  ; 
and  she  who  had  a good  stock  of  petticoats  and 
stockings  was  as  absolutely  an  heiress  as  is  a 
Kamtchatka  damsel  with  a store  of  bear-skins, 
or  a Lapland  belle  with  a plenty  of  reindeer. 



The  ladies,  therefore,  were  very  anxious  to 
display  these  powerful  attractions  to  the 
greatest  advantage  ; and  the  best  rooms  in  the 
house,  instead  of  being  adorned  with  carica- 
tures of  Dame  Nature,  in  water-colors  and 
needle- work,  were  always  hung  round  with 
abundance  of  homespun  garments,  the  manufac- 
ture and  the  property  of  the  females, — a piece 
of  laudable  ostentation  that  still  prevails  among 
the  heiresses  of  our  Dutch  villages. 

The  gentlemen,  in  fact,  who  figured  in  the 
circles  of  the  gay  world  in  these  ancient  times, 
corresponded,  in  most  particulars,  with  the 
beauteous  damsels  whose  smiles  they  were  ambi- 
tious to  deserve.  True  it  is,  their  merits  would 
make  but  a very  inconsiderable  impression  upon 
the  heart  of  a modern  fair  ; they  neither  drove 
their  curricles,  nor  sported  their  tandems,  for  as 
yet  those  gaudy  vehicles  were  not  even  dreamt 
of ; neither  did  they  distinguish  themselves  by 
their  brilliancy  at  the  table,  and  their  conse- 
quent rencontres  with  watchmen,  for  our  fore- 
fathers were  of  too  pacific  a disposition  to 
need  those  guardians  of  the  night,  every  soul 
throughout  the  town  being  sound  asleep  before 
nine  o’clock.  Neither  did  they  establish  their 
claims  to  gentility  at  the  expense  of  their 
tailors,  for  as  yet  those  offenders  against  the 
pockets  of  society,  and  the  tranquillity  of  all 

Zbc  (3ai5  Cavaliers 


aspiring  young  gentlemen,  were  unknown  in 
New  iVmsterdam  ; every  good  housewife  made 
the  clothes  of  her  husband  and  family,  and 
even  the  goede  vrouw  of  Van  Twiller  himself 
thought  it  no  disparagement  to  cut  out  her 
husband’s  linsey-woolsey  galligaskins. 

Not  but  what  there  were  some  two  or  three 
youngsters  who  manifested  the  first  dawning 
of  what  is  called  fire  and  spirit  ; who  held 
all  labor  in  contempt ; skulked  about  docks 
and  market-places  ; loitered  in  the  sunshine  ; 
squandered  what  little  money  they  could  pro- 
cure at  hustlecap  and  chuck-farthing  ; swore, 
boxed,  fought  cocks,  and  raced  their  neigh- 
bors’ horses  ; in  short,  who  promised  to  be 
the  wonder,  the  talk,  and  abomination  of  the 
town,  had  not  their  stylish  career  been  unfor- 
tunately cut  short  by  an  affair  of  honor  with  a 

Far  other,  however,  was  the  truly  fashion- 
able gentleman  of  those  days : his  dress, 
which  served  for  both  morning  and  evening, 
street  and  drawing-room,  was  a linsey-woolsey 
coat,  made,  perhaps,  by  the  fair  hands  of  the 
mistress  of  his  affections,  and  gallantly  be- 
decked with  abundance  of  large  brass  but- 
tons ; half  a score  of  breeches  heightened  the 
proportions  of  his  figure  ; his  shoes  were 
decorated  by  enormous  copper  buckles  ; a low- 




B Ibistor^  of  IRevv 

crowned  broad-rimmed  hat  overshadowed  his 
burly  visage  ; and  his  hair  dangled  down  his 
back  in  a prodigious  queue  of  eel-skin. 

Thus  equipped,  he  would  manfully  sally 
forth,  with  pipe  in  mouth,  to  besiege  some  fair 
damsel’s  obdurate  heart, — not  such  a pipe, 
good  reader,  as  that  which  Acis  did  sweetly 
tune  in  praise  of  his  Galatea,  but  one  of  true 
Delft  manufacture,  and  furnished  with  a charge 
I of  fragrant  tobacco.  With  this  would  he  reso- 
lutely set  himself  down  before  the  fortress,  and 
rarely  failed,  in  the  process  of  time,  to  smoke 
the  fair  enemy  into  a surrender,  upon  honor- 
able terms. 

Such  was  the  happy  reign  of  Wouter  Van 
Twiller,  celebrated  in  many  a long-forgotten 
song  as  the  real  golden  age,  the  rest  being 
nothing  but  counterfeit  copper- washed  coin. 
In  that  delightful  period,  a sweet  and  holy 
calm  reigned  over  the  whole  province.  The 
burgomaster  smoked  his  pipe  in  peace  ; the 
substantial  solace  of  his  domestic  cares,  after 
her  daily  toils  were  done,  sat  soberly  at  the 
door,  with  her  arms  crossed  over  her  apron  of 
snowy  white,  without  being  insulted  with 
ribald  street-walkers  or  vagabond  boys, — those 
unlucky  urchins  who  do  so  infest  our  streets, 
displaying,  under  the  roses  of  youth,  the 
thorns  and  briers  of  iniquit}’.  Then  it  was 

Zbc  ©olOen  B^c 

that  the  lover  with  ten  breeches,  and  the  dam- 
sel with  petticoats  of  half  a score,  indulged  in 
all  the  innocent  endearments  of  virtuous  love, 
without  fear  and  without  reproach  ; for  what 
had  that  virtue  to  fear,  which  was  defended 


by  a shield  of  good  linsey-woolseys,  equal  at 
least  to  the  seven  bull-hides  of  the  invincible 

Ah,  blissful  and  never-to-be-forgotten  age  ! 
when  everything  was  better  than  it  has  ever 
been  since,  or  ever  will  be  again, — when  But- 
termilk Channel  was  quite  dry  at  low  water, — 

270  B of  IWevv  ll)ork 

when  the  shad  in  the  Hudson  were  aii  salmon, 
— and  when  the  moon  shone  with  a pure  and 
resplendent  whiteness,  instead  of  that  melan- 
choly yellow  light  which  is  the  consequence 
of  her  sickening  at  the  abominations  she  every 
night  witnesses  in  this  degenerate  city  ! 

Happy  would  it  have  been  for  New  Amster- 
dam could  it  always  have  existed  in  this  state 
of  blissful  ignorance  and  lowly  vsimplicity  ; 
but,  alas  ! the  days  of  childhood  are  too  sweet 
to  last ! Cities,  like  men,  grow  out  of  them 
in  time,  and  are  doomed  alike  to  grow  into 
the  bustle,  the  cares,  and  miseries  of  the 
world.  Let  no  man  congratulate  himself, 
when  he  beholds  the  child  of  his  bosom  or 
the  city  of  his  birth  increasing  in  magnitude 
and  importance, — let  the  historj^  of  his  own 
life  teach  him  the  dangers  of  the  one,  and  this 
excellent  little  history  of  Manna-hata  convince 
him  of  the  calamities  of  the  other. 

Cbapter  ID, 


T has  already  been  men 

times  of  Oloffe 
the  Dreamer,  a frontier- 
post,  or  trading-house, 
called  Fort  " Aurania, 
had  been  established 
on  the  upper  waters  of 
the  Hudson,  precisely 
on  the  site  of  the  pres- 
ent venerable  city  of  Albany  ; which  was  at 
that  time  considered  at  the  very  end  of  the 
habitable  world.  It  was,  indeed,  a remote 
possession,  with  which,  for  a long  time.  New 
Amsterdam  held  but  little  intercourse.  Now 
and  then  the  “Company’s  Yacht,’’  as  it  was 
called,  was  sent  to  the  fort  with  supplies,  and 


to  bring  away  the  peltries  which  had  been 
purchased  of  the  Indians.  It  was  like  an  ex- 
pedition to  the  Indias,  or  the  North  Pole,  and 
always  made  great  talk  in  the  settlement. 
Sometimes  an  adventurous  burgher  would  ac- 
company the  expedition,  to  the  great  uneasi- 
ness of  his  friends ; but,  on  his  return,  had  so 
many  stories  to  tell  of  storms  and  tempests 
on  the  Tappaan  Zee,  of  hobgoblins  in  the 
Highlands  and  at  the  Devil’s  Dans  Kammer, 
and  of  all  the  other  wonders  and  perils  with 
which  the  river  abounded  in  those  early  days, 
that  he  deterred  the  less  adventurous  inhabi- 
tants from  following  his  example. 

Matters  were  in  this  state,  when,  one  day, 
as  Walter  the  Doubter  and  his  burgermeesters 
were  smoking  and  pondering  over  the  affairs 
of  the  province,  they  were  roused  by  the  re- 
port of  a cannon.  Sallying  forth,  they  beheld 
a strange  vessel  at  anchor  in  the  bay.  It  was 
unquestionably  of  Dutch  build,  broad-bottomed 
and  high-pooped,  and  bore  the  flag  of  their 
High  Mightinesses  at  the  mast-head. 

After  a while,  a boat  put  off  for  land,  and  a 
stranger  stepped  onshore, — a lofty,  lordly  kind 
of  man,  tall,  and  dry,  with  a meagre  face,  fur- 
nished with  huge  moustaches.  He  was  clad 
in  Flemish  doublet  and  hose,  and  an  insuffer- 
ably tall  hat,  with  a cocktail  feather.  Such 



B 1F3i6tor^  of  mew  l^orft 

was  the  patrooii  Killian  Van  Rensellaer,  who 
had  come  out  from  Holland  to  found  a colony 
or  patroonship  on  a great  tract  of  wild  land, 
granted  to  him  by  their  High  Mightinesses 
the  lyords  States-General,  in  the  upper  regions 
of  the  Hudson. 

Killian  Van  Rensellaer  was  a nine  days’ 
wonder  in  New  Amsterdam  ; for  he  carried 
a high  head,  looked  down  upon  the  portly, 
short-legged  burgomasters,  and  owned  no  al- 
legiance to  the  governor  himself ; boasting 
that  he  held  his  patroonship  directl}^  from  the 
Lords  States-General. 

He  tarried  but  a short  time  in  New  Amster- 
dam, merely  to  beat  up  recruits  for  his  colony. 

I Few,  however,  ventured  to  enlist  for  those 
remote  and  savage  regions  ; and  when  they 
embarked,  their  friends  took  leave  of  them  as 
if  they  should  never  see  them  more,  and  stood 
gazing  with  tearful  eye  as  the  stout,  round- 
sterned  little  vessel  ploughed  and  splashed  its 
way  up  the  Hudson,  with  great  noise  and  little 
progress,  taking  nearly  a day  to  get  out  of 
sight  of  the  city. 

And  now,  from  time  to  time,  floated  down 
tidings  to  the  Manhattoes  of  the  growing  im- 
portance of  this  new  colony.  Every  account 
represented  Killian  Van  Rensellaer  as  rising 
in  importance  and  becoming  a mighty  patroon 

Ikillfan  IDan  IRcnecllacr 


in  the  land.  He  had  received  more  recruits 
from  Holland.  His  patroonship  of  Rensellaer- 
wick  lay  immediately  below  Fort  Aurania, 
and  extended  for  several  miles  on  each  side 
of  the  Hudson,  beside  embracing  the  moun- 
tainous region  of  the  Helderberg.  Over  all 
this  he  claimed  to  hold  separate  jurisdiction, 
independent  of  the  colonial  authorities  of  New 

All  these  assumptions  of  authority  were 
duly  reported  to  Governor  Van  Twiller  and 
his  council,  by  despatches  from  Fort  Aurania  ; 
at  each  new  report  the  governor  and  his  coun- 
sellors looked  at  each  other,  raised  their  eye- 
brows, gave  an  extra  puff  or  two  of  smoke, 
and  then  relapsed  into  their  usual  tranquillity. 

At  length  tidings  came  that  the  patroon  of 
Rensellaerwick  had  extended  his  usurpations 
along  the  river,  beyond  the  limits  granted  him 
by  their  High  Mightinesses  ; and  that  he  had 
even  seized  upon  a rocky  island  in  the  Hud- 
son, commonly  known  by  the  name  of  Bearn 
or  Bear’s  Island,  where  he  was  erecting  a 
fortress,  to  be  called  by  the  lordly  name  of 

Wouter  Van  Twiller  was  roused  by  this  in- 
telligence. After  consulting  with  his  burgo- 
masters, he  despatched  a letter  to  the  patroon 
of  Rensellaerwick,  demanding  b}^  what  right 

B Ibistorg  ot  IRevv 

he  had  seized  upon  this  island,  which  lay 
beyond  the  bounds  of  his  patroonship.  The 
answer  of  Killian  Van  Rensellaer  was  in  his 
own  lordly  style,  “ wape7i  I'echt!'' — that 
is  to  say,  by  the  right  of  arms,  or,  in  common 
parlance,  by  club-law.  This  answer  plunged 
the  worthy  Wouter  in  one  of  the  deepest 
doubts  he  had  in  the  whole  course  of  his 
administration  ; in  the  meantime,  while  Wouter 
doubted,  the  lordly  Killian  went  on  to  finish 
his  fortress  of  Rensellaerstein,  about  which  I 
foresee  I shall  have  something  to  record  in  a 
future  chapter  of  this  most  eventful  histor>\ 

N the  year  of  our  Lord  one 
thousand  eight  hundred 
and  four,  on  a fine  after- 
noon in  the  glowing  month 
of  September,  I took  my 
customary  walk  upon  the 
Batter}^  which  is  at  once 
the  pride  and  bulwark  of 
this  ancient  and  impreg- 
nable city  of  New  York. 
The  ground  on  which  I 
trod  was  hallowed  by  rec- 
ollections of  the  past ; and 
as  I slowly  wandered  through  the  long  alley 
of  poplars,  which,  like  so  many  birch  brooms 
standing  on  end,  diffused  a melanchol}^  and 
lugubrious  shade,  my  imagination  drew  a con- 
trast between  the  surrounding  scenery^  and 
what  it  was  in  the  classic  days  of  our  fore- 

B Ibistor^  of  IRew  l^ork 

fathers.  Where  the  government  house  by 
name,  but  the  custom-house  by  occupation, 
proudly  reared  its  brick  walls  and  wooden 
pillars,  there  whilom  stood  the  low,  but  sub- 
stantial, red- tiled  mansion  of  the  renowned 
Wouter  Van  T wilier.  Around  it  the  mighty 
bulwarks  of  Fort  Amsterdam  frowned  defiance 
to  every  absent  foe  : but,  like  many  a whisk- 
ered warrior  and  gallant  militia  captain,  con- 
firmed their  martial  deeds  to  frowns  alone. 
The  mud  breastworks  had  long  been  levelled 
with  the  earth,  and  their  site  converted  into 
the  green  lawns  and  leafy  alleys  of  the  Battery  ; 
where  the  gay  apprentice  sported  his  Sunday 
coat,  and  the  laborious  mechanic,  relieved 
from  the  dirt  and  drudgery  of  the  week,  poured 
his  weekly  tale  of  love  into  the  half-averted  ear 
of  the  sentimental  chambermaid.  The  capa- 
cious bay  still  presented  the  same  expansive 
sheet  ot  water,  studded  with  islands,  sprinkled 
with  fishing-boats,  and  bounded  bv  shores  of 
picturesque  beauty.  But  the  dark  forests 
which  once  clothed  those  shores  had  been  vio- 
lated by  the  savage  hand  of  cultivation,  and 
their  tangled  mazes,  and  impenetrable  thickets, 
had  degenerated  into  teeming  orchards  and 
waving  fields  of  grain.  Even  Governor’s 
Island,  once  a smiling  garden,  appertaining  to 
the  sovereigns  of  the  province,  was  now 

Zbc  :f6attere 

covered  with  fortifications,  inclosing  a tremen- 
dous block-house,  so  that  this  once  peaceful 
island  resembled  a fierce  little  warrior  in  a big 
cocked  hat,  breathing  gun-powder  and  defiance 
to  the  world  ! 

For  some  time  did  I indulge  in  a pensive 
train  of  thought ; contrasting,  in  sober  sadness. 


the  present  da^"  with  the  hallowed  years  behind 
the  mountains  ; lamenting  the  melancholy 
progress  of  improvement,  and  praising  the  zeal 
with  which  our  worthy  burghers  endeavored 
to  preserve  the  wrecks  of  venerable  customs, 
prejudices,  and  errors  from  the  overwhelming 
tide  of  modern  innovation, — when,  by  degrees, 
my  ideas  took  a different  turn,  and  I insensibly 

28o  B Ibietori?  of  IRevv  l^orh 

awakened  to  an  enjoyment  of  the  beauties 
around  me. 

It  was  one  of  those  rich  autumnal  days 
which  heaven  particularly  bestows  upon  the 
beauteous  island  of  Manna-hata  and  its  vicinity 
— not  a floating  cloud  obscured  the  azure  firma- 
i ment, — the  sun,  rolling  in  glorious  splendor 
through  his  ethereal^ course,  seemed  to  expand 
his  honest  Dutch  countenance  into  an  unusual 
expression  of  benevolence,  as  he  smiled  his 
evening  salutation  upon  a cit3'  which  he 
delights  to  visit  with  his  most  bounteous 
beams, — the  ver}^  winds  seemed  to  hold  in  their 
breaths  in  mute  attention,  lest  they  should  ruffle 
I the  tranquillity  of  the  hour, — and  the  wave- 
: less  bosom  of  the  bay  presented  a polished 
mirror,  in  which  nature  beheld  herself  and 
smiled.  The  standard  of  our  city,  reserved  like 
I a choice  handkerchief,  for  days  of  gala,  hung 
motionless  on  the  flag-staff,  which  forms  the 
handle  of  a gigantic  churn  ; and  even  the  trem- 
ulous leaves  of  the  poplar  and  the  aspen  ceased 
to  vibrate  to  the  breath  of  heaven.  Everything 
seemed  to  acquiesce  in  the  profound  repose 
of  nature.  The  formidable  eighteen-pounders 
slept  in  the  embrasures  of  the  wooden  batteries, 
seemingly  gathering  fresh  strength  to  fight  the 
battles  of  their  country  on  the  next  fourth  of 
July  ; the  solitary  drum  on  Governor’s  Island 


forgot  to  call  the  garrison  to  their  shovels  ; the 
evening  gun  had  not  yet  sounded  its  signal  for 
all  the  regular  well  meaning  poultr}^  through- 
out the  country  to  go  to  roost ; and  the  fleet  of 
canoes,  at  anchor  between  Gibbet  Island  and 
Comniunipaw,  slumbered  on  their  rakes,  and 
suffered  the  innocent  oysters  to  lie  for  a while 
unmolested  in  the  soft  mud  of  their  native 
banks  ! My  own  feelings  sympathized  with  the 
contagious  tranquillity,  and  I should  infallibly 
have  dozed  upon  one  of  those  fragments  of 
benches,  which  our  benevolent  magistrates 
have  provided  for  the  benefit  of  convalescent 
loungers,  had  not  the  extraordinary  inconven- 
ience of  the  couch  set  all  repose  at  defiance. 

In  the  midst  of  this  slumber  of  the  soul,  my 
attention  was  attracted  to  a black  speck,  peer- 
ing above  the  western  horizon,  just  in  the  rear 
of  Bergen  steeple  : gradually  it  augments  and 
overhangs  the  would-be  cities  of  Jersey,  Har- 
simus,  and  Hoboken,  which,  like  three  jockeys, 
are  starting  on  the  course  of  existence,  and 
jostling  each  other  at  the  commencement  of 
the  race.  Now  it  skirts  the  long  shore  of 
ancient  Pavonia,  spreading  its  wide  shadows 
from  the  high  settlements  of  Weehawk  quite 
to  the  lazaretto  and  quarantine  erected  by  the 
sagacity  of  our  police,  for  the  embarrassment 
of  commerce  ; now  it  climbs  the  serene  vault 




of  heaven,  cloud  rolling  over  cloud,  shrouding 
the  orb  of  day,  darkening  the  vast  expanse, 
and  bearing  thunder  and  hail  and  tempest  in 
its  bosom.  The  earth  seems  agitated  at  the 
confusion  of  the  heavens  ; the  late  waveless 
mirror  is  lashed  into  furious  waves  that  roll 
in  hollow  murmurs  to  the  shore  ; the  oyster- 
boats  that  erst  sported  in  the  placid  vicinity 
of  Gibbet  Island,  now  hurry  affrighted  to  the 
land  ; the  poplar  writhes  and  twists  and  whis- 
tles in  the  blast  ; torrents  of  drenching  rain 
and  sounding  hail  deluge  the  Battery  walks ; 
the  gates  are  thronged  by  apprentices,  servant- 
maids,  and  little  Frenchmen,  with  pocket- 
handkerchiefs  over  their  hats,  scampering  from 
the  storm  ; the  late  beauteous  prospect  presents 
one  scene  of  anarchy  and  wild  uproar,  as 
though  old  Chaos  had  resumed  his  reign,  and 
was  hurling  back  into  one  vast  turmoil  the 
conflicting  elements  of  nature. 

Whether  I fled  from  the  fury  of  the  storm, 
or  remained  boldly  at  my  post,  as  our  gallant 
train-band  captains  who  march  their  soldiers 
through  the  rain  without  flinching,  are  points 
which  I leave  to  the  conjecture  of  the  reader. 
It  is  possible  he  may  be  a little  perplexed  also 
to  know  the  reason  why  I introduced  this  tre- 
mendous tempest  to  disturb  the  serenity  of 
my  work.  On  this  latter  point  I will  gratui- 




'Wllbg  tbe  Storm  Came  283  1 


tously  instruct  his  ignorance.  The  panorama 


I l\v% 

view  of  the  Battery  was  given  merely  to  gratify  1 


the  reader  with  a correct  description  of  that 


celebrated  place  and  the  parts  adjacent;  sec- 


' w\ 

ondly,  the  storm  was  played  off,  partly  to  give 

^ \ 


a little  bustle  and  life  to  this  tranquil  part  of 



111}'  work,  and  to  keep  my  drowsy  readers  from 








falling  asleep,  and  partly  to  serve  as  an  over- 
ture to  the  tempestuous  times  which  are  about 


to  assail  the  pacific  province  of  Nieuw  Neder- 

landts,  and  which  overhang  the  slumbrous 


administration  of  the  renowned  Wouter  Van 

p [) 


! Twiller.  It  is  thus  the  experienced  playwright 
puts  all  the  fiddles,  the  French-horns,  the 
kettle-drnms,  and  trumpets  of  his  orchestra  in 





B 1bi6tori2  of  IRevv  l^orF? 

requisition,  to  usher  in  one  of  those  horrible 
and  brimestone  uproars  called  Melodrames, — 
and  it  is  thus  he  discharges  his  thunder,  his 
lightning,  his  rosin,  and  saltpetre,  preparatory 
to  the  rising  of  a ghost  or  the  murdering  of  a 
hero.  We  will  now  proceed  with  our  history. 

Whatever  ina}'  be  advanced  by  philosophers 
to  the  contrary,  I am  of  opinion,  that,  as  to  na- 
tions, the  old  maxim,  that  “honesty  is  the  best 
polic}^’’  is  a .sheer  and  ruinous  mistake.  It 
might  have  answered  well  enough  in  the 
honest  times  when  it  was  made  ; but  in  these 
degenerate  days,  if  a nation  pretends  to  rely 
merely  upon  the  ju.stice  of  its  dealings,  it  will 
fare  something  like  the  honest  man  who  fell 
among  thieves,  and  found  his  honesty  a poor 
protection  against  bad  company.  Such,  at 
least,  was  the  case  with  the  guileless  govern- 
ment of  the  New  Netherlands  ; which,  like  a 
worth}^  unsu.spicious  old  burgher,  quietly  set- 
tled itself  down  in  the  city  of  New  Amsterdam, 
as  into  a snug  elbow-chair,  and  fell  into  a 
comfortable  nap,  while,  in  the  meantime,  its 
cunning  neighbors  stepped  in  and  picked  its 
pockets.  In  a word,  we  may  ascribe  the  com- 
mencement of  all  the  woes  of  this  great  prov- 
ince, and  its  magnificent  metropolis,  to  the 
tranquil  security,  or,  to  .speak  more  accurately, 

I to  the  unfortunate  honesty  of  its  government. 

L n,. ,,  ■ - 

H^onest^  Bot  tbc  JBest  jpolicg 

But  as  I dislike  to  begin  an  important  part  of 
my  histor}"  towards  the  end  of  a chapter,  and 
as  my  readers,  like  m3^self,  must  doubtless  be 
exceedingly  fatigued  with  the  long  walk  we 
have  taken,  and  the  tempest  we  have  sustained, 
I hold  it  meet  we  shut  up  the  book,  smoke 
a pipe,  and,  having  thus  refreshed  our  spirits, 
take  a fair  start  in  a new  chapter. 

UmpenMng  Galamltp  287 

certain  national  creed,  a kind  of  public  walk 
of  faith,  or  rather  a religious  turnpike,  in 
which  every  loyal  subject  was  directed  to  travel 
to  Zion, — taking  care  to  pay  the  toll-gatherers 
by  the  way. 

Albeit  a certain  shrewd  race  of  men,  being 
very  much  given  to  indulge  their  own  opinions 
on  all  manner  of  subjects  (a  propensity  ex- 
ceedingly offensive  to  your  free  governments 
of  Europe),  did  most  presumptuously  dare  to 
think  for  themselves  in  matters  of  religion, 
exercising  what  they  considered  a natural  and 
unextinguishable  right — the  liberty  of  con- 

As,  however,  they  possessed  that  ingenuous 
habit  of  mind  which  always  thinks  aloud, 
which  rides  cock-a-hoop  on  the  tongue,  and  is 
forever  galloping  into  other  people’s  ears,  it 
naturally  followed  that  their  liberty  of  con- 
science likewise  implied  liberty  of  speeeli,  which 
being  freely  indulged,  soon  put  the  country  in 
a hubbub,  and  aroused  the  pious  indignation 
of  the  vigilant  fathers  of  the  Church. 

The  usual  methods  were  adopted  to  reclaim 
them,  which  in  those  days  were  considered 
efficacious  in  bringing  back  stray  sheep  to  the 
fold  ; that  is  to  say,  they  were  coaxed,  they 
were  admonished,  they  were  menaced,  they 
were  buffeted, — line  upon  line,  precept  upon 

A S 

/ , , 


288  B 1bl6tor^  of  IRevv  l^ork 


'/  A 
r:'  Y 

precept,  lash  upon  lash,  here  a little  and  there 


a great  deal,  were  exhorted  without  mercy  and 
without  success, — until  the  worthy  pastors  of 


• \ > 

the  Church,  wearied  out  by  their  unparalleled 
stubbornness,  were  driven,  in  the  excess  of 
their  tender  mercy,  to  adopt  the  Scripture  text,  ' 
and  literally  to  “heap  live  embers  on  their 
heads.”  , 

Nothing,  however,  could  subdue  that  inde- 



pendence  of  the  tongue  which  has  ever  distin- 
guished this  singular  race,  so  that,  rather  than 
subject  that  heroic  member  to  further  tyranny. 


’,  \; 

they  one  and  all  embarked  for  the  wilderness 

i yj 

of  America,  to  enjoy,  unmolested,  the  inestima- 

\  / / 

ble  right  of  talking.  And,  in  fact,  no  sooner 



did  they  land  upon  the  shore  of  this  free-spoken 

1 M 

country,  than  they  all  lifted  up  their  voices, 


and  made  such  a clamor  of  tongues,  that  we 
are  told  they  frightened  every  bird  and  beast 
out  of  the  neighborhood,  and  struck  such  mute 
terror  into  certain  fish,  that  they  have  been 
called  dumb-fish  ever  since. 


’ j ; 

This  may  appear  marvellous,  but  it  is  never- 

V  I® 

theless  true  ; in  proof  of  which  I would  observe, 

that  the  dumb-fish  has  ever  since  become  an 

' h 

object  of  superstitious  reverence,  and  forms  the 

1 /: 

Saturday’s  dinner  of  every  true  Yankee. 

\/  / 

i The  simple  aborigines  of  the  land  for  a while 

V-  t 

contemplated  these  strange  folk  in  utter  aston- 

V\l  ' 



'X^ ... 

^Tbe  l^anbees 

ishment ; but  discovering  that  they  wielded 
harmless  though  noisy  weapons,  and  were  a 
lively,  ingenious,  good-humored  race  of  men. 


they  became  very  friendly  and  sociable,  and 
gave  them  the  name  of  Yanokies,  which  in  the 
Mais-Tchusaeg  (or  Massachusetts)  language 


B 1[3i0tor^  of  IRevv  ^ovk 

signifies  sile7it  — a waggish  appellation, 

since  shortened  into  the  familiar  epithet  of 
Yankees,  which  they  retain  unto  the  present 

True  it  is,  and  my  fidelity  as  an  historian 
will  not  allow  me  to  pass  over  the  fact,  that, 
having  served  a regular  apprenticeship  in  the 
school  of  persecution,  these  ingenious  people 
soon  show’ed  that  they  had  become  masters  of 
the  art.  The  great  majority  were  of  one  par- 
ticular mode  of  thinking  in  matters  of  religion  ; 
but,  to  their  great  surprise  and  indignation, 
they  found  that  divers  Papists,  Quakers,  and 
Anabaptists  were  springing  up  among  them, 
and  all  claiming  to  use  the  liberty  of  speech. 
This  was  at  once  pronounced  a daring  abuse 
of  the  liberty  of  conscience,  which  they  now 
insisted  was  nothing  more  than  the  liberty  to 
think  as  one  pleased  in  matters  of  religion — 
provided  one  thought  right ; for  otherwise  it 
would  be  giving  a latitude  to  damnable  her- 
esies. Now  as  the}^  the  majority,  were  con- 
vinced that  they  alone  thought  right,  it 
consequently  followed,  that  whoever  thought 
different  from  them  thought  wrong, — and  who- 
ever thought  wrong,  and  obstinately  persisted 
in  not  being  convinced  and  converted,  was  a 
flagrant  violator  of  the  inestimable  liberty  of 
conscience,  and  a corrupt  and  infectious  mem- 

TLbc  lankeee  291 

ber  of  the  body  politic,  and  deserved  to  be 
lopped  off  and  oast  into  the  fire.  The  conse- 
quence of  all  which  was  a fiery  persecution  of 
divers  sects,  and  especially  of  Quakers. 

Now  I ’ll  warrant  there  are  hosts  of  my 
readers,  ready  at  once  to  lift  up  their  hands  and 
eyes,  with  that  virtuous  indignation  with 
which  we  contemplate  the  faults  and  errors  of 
our  neighbors,  and  to  exclaim  at  the  preposter- 
ous idea  of  convincing  the  mind  by  tormenting 
the  body,  and  establishing  the  doctrine  of 
charity  and  forbearance  by  intolerant  persecu- 
tion. But  in  simple  truth  what  are  we  doing 
at  this  very  day,  and  in  this  very  enlightened 
nation,  but  acting  upon  the  very  same  princi- 
ple in  our  political  controversies?  Have  we 
not  within  but  a few  years  released  ourselves 
from  the  shackles  of  a government  which 
cruelly  denied  us  the  privilege  of  governing 
ourselves,  and  using  in  full  latitude  that  inval- 
uable member,  the  tongue  ? and  are  we  not  at 
this  very  moment  striving  our  best  to  tyrannize 
over  the  opinions,  tie  up  the  tongues,  and  ruin 
the  fortunes  of  one  another?  What  are  our 
great  political  societies,  but  mere  political  in- 
quisitions,— our  pot-house  committees,  but  little 
tribunals  of  denunciation, — our  newspapers, 
but  mere  whipping-posts  and  pillories,  where 
unfortunate  individuals  are  pelted  with  rotten- 


B 1bi6tor)5  of  IRew  liorft 

eggs, — and  our  council  of  appointment,  but  a 
grand  auto-da-fe,  where  culprits  are  annually 
sacrificed  for  their  political  heresies  ? 

Where,  then,  is  the  difference  in  principle 
between  our  measures  and  those  you  are  so 
ready  to  condemn  among  the  people  I am  treat- 
ing of?  There  is  none  ; the  difference  is  merely 
circumstantial.  Thus  we  de^iounce,  instead  of 
banishing, — libel,  instead  of  scourging, — we 
turji  Old  of  office,  instead  of  hanging, — and 
where  they  burnt  an  offender  in  proper  person, 
we  either  tar  and  feather,  or  burn  him  in  effigy, 
— this  political  persecution  being,  somehow  or 
other,  the  grand  palladium  of  our  liberties,  and 
an  incontrovertible  proof  that  this  is  a free 
country  ! 

But  notwithstanding  the  fervent  zeal  with 
which  this  holy  war  was  prosecuted  against 
the  whole  race  of  unbelievers,  we  do  not  find 
that  the  population  of  this  new  colony  was  in 
any  wise  hindered  thereby  ; on  the  contrary, 
they  multiplied  to  a degree  which  would  be 
incredible  to  any  man  unacquainted  with  the 
marv^ellous  fecundity  of  this  growing  country. 

This  amazing  increase  may,  indeed,  be  partly 
ascribed  to  a singular  custom  prevalent  among 
them,  commonly  known  by  the  name  of  bund- 
ling,— a superstitious  rite  observed  by  the 
young  people  of  both  sexes,  with  which  they 

^Tbe  l^ankece 

usually  terminated  their  festivities,  and  which 
was  kept  up  with  religious  strictness  by  the 
more  bigoted  part  of  the  community.  This 
ceremony  was  likewise,  in  those  primitive 
times,  considered  as  an  indispensable  prelimi- 


nary  to  matrimony,  their  courtships  commenc- 
ing where  ours  usually  finish, — by  which 
means  they  acquired  that  intimate  acquaintance 
with  each  other’s  good  qualities  before  mar- 
riage, which  has  been  pronounced  by  philoso- 
phers the  sure  basis  of  a happy  union.  Thus 


B Ibistor^  of  IRevv  liJorJ? 

early  did  this  cunning  and  ingenious  people 
display  a shrewdness  of  making  a bargain, 
which  has  ever  since  distinguished  them, — and 
a strict  adherence  to  the  good  old  vulgar 
maxim  about  “ bu3dng  a pig  in  a poke.” 

To  this  sagacious  custom,  therefore,  do  I 
chiefly  attribute  the  unparalleled  increase  of 
the  Yanokie  or  Yankee  race  ; for  it  is  a certain 
fact,  well  authenticated  by  court  records  and 
parish  registers,  that,  wherever  the  practice  of 
bundling  prevailed,  there  was  an  amazing 
number  of  sturdy  brats  annually  born  unto  the 
State,  without  the  licence  of  the  law,  or  the 
beiieflt  of  clergy.  Neither  did  the  irregularity 
of  their  birth  operate  in  the  least  to  their  dis- 
paragement. On  the  contrary,  they  grew  up  a 
long-sided,  raw-boned,  hard}^  race  of  whoreson 
whalers,  wood-cutters,  flsherman,  and  peddlers, 
and  strapping  corn- fed  wenches, — who  by  their 
united  efforts  tended  mar\^ellously  towards 
peopling  those  notable  tracts  of  country  called 
Nantucket,  Piscatawa}^  and  Cape  Cod. 


Cbapter  ID1F1I1F 

HOW  these  singuear  barbarians  turned  out  to 
BE  notorious  squatters — HOW  THEY  BUIET  AIR- 
castees,  and  attempted  to  initiate  the  NEDER- 


TT^  chapter  I have 

^ given  a faithful  and  un- 

prejudiced  account  of  the 
origin  of  that  singular 
race  of  people  inhabiting 
country  eastward  of 
' Nieuw  Nederlandts  ; 

^ men- 

lion  certain  peculiar  hab- 
' its  which  rendered  them 

exceedingly  annoying  to 
■ ’ our  ever-honored  Dutch 


The  most  prominent  of  these  was  a certain 
rambling  propensity,  with  which,  like  the  sons 
of  Ishmael,  they  seem  to  have  been  gifted  by 
heaven,  and  which  continually  goads  them  on 
to  shift  their  residence  from  place  to  place,  so 


B Ibistor^  of  mcvv  l^ork 

that  a Yankee  farmer  is  in  a constant  state  of 
migration,  tarrying  occasionally  here  and  there, 
clearing  lands  for  other  people  to  enjoy,  build- 
ing houses  for  others  to  inhabit,  and  in  a man- 
ner may  be  considered  the  wandering  Arab  of 

His  first  thought,  on  coming  to  years  of 
manhood,  is  to  settle  himself  in  the  world, — 
which  means  nothing  more  nor  less  than  to 
begin  his  rambles.  To  this  end  he  takes  unto 
himself  for  a wife  some  buxom  country  heir- 
ess, passing  rich  in  red  ribbons,  glass  beads, 
and  mock  tortoise-shell  combs,  with  a white 
gown  and  morocco  shoes  for  Sunday,  and 
deeply  skilled  in  the  mystery  of  making  apple- 
sweetmeats,  long  sauce,  and  pumpkin-pie. 

Having  thus  provided  himself,  like  a ped- 
dler with  a heavy  knapsack,  wherewith  to  re- 
gale his  shoulders  through  the  journey  of  life, 
he  literally  sets  out  on  the  peregrination.  His 
whole  family,  household- furniture,  and  farm- 
ing utensils  are  hoisted  into  a covered  cart,  his 
own  and  his  wife’s  wardrobe  packed  up  in 
a firkin, — which  done,  he  shoulders  his  axe, 
takes  staff  in  hand,  whistles  “Yankee  Doodle,’’ 
and  trudges  off  to  the  woods,  as  confident  of 
the  protection  of  Providence,  and  relying  as 
cheerfully  upon  his  own  resources,  as  ever  did 
a patriarch  of  yore  when  he  journeyed  into  a 

of  tbe  L^ankees  297 

strange  country  of  the  Gentiles.  Having 
buried  himself  in  the  wilderness,  he  builds 
himself  a log  hut,  clears  away  a corn-field 
and  potato  patch,  and.  Providence  smiling 
upon  his  labors,  is  soon  surrounded  by  a snug 
farm  and  some  half  a score  of  flaxen-headed 
urchins,  who,  by  their  size,  seem  to  have 
sprung  all  at  once  out  of  the  earth,  like  a crop 
of  toadstools. 

But  it  is  not  the  nature  of  this  most  indefati- 
gable of  speculators  to  rest  contented  with  any 
state  of  sublunary  enjoyment : improve me7it  is 
his  darling  passion  ; and  having  thus  improved 
his  lands,  the  next  care  is  to  provide  a man- 
sion worthy  the  residence  of  a landholder.  A 
huge  palace  of  pine  boards  immediately  springs 
up  in  the  midst  of  the  wilderness,  large  enough 
for  a parish  church,  and  furnished  with  windows 
of  all  dimensions,  but  so  rickety  and  flimsy 
withal,  that  every  blast  gives  it  a fit  of  the 

By  the  time  the  outside  of  this  mighty 
air-castle  is  completed,  either  the  funds  or  the 
zeal  of  our  adventurer  is  exhausted,  so  that  he 
barely  manages  to  furnish  one  room  within, 
where  the  whole  family  burrow  together, — 
while  the  rest  of  the  house  is  devoted  to  the 
curing  of  pumpkins,  or  storing  of  carrots  and 
potatoes,  and  is  decorated  with  fanciful  festoons 


B 1bistori5  of  IRevv  lock 

of  dried  apples  and  peaches.  The  outside, 
remaining  unpainted,  grows  venerably  black 
with  time  ; the  family  wardrobe  is  laid  un- 
der contribution  for  old  hats,  petticoats,  and 
breeches,  to  stuff  into  the  broken  windows, 
while  the  four  winds  of  heaven  keep  up  a 
whistling  and  howling  about  this  aerial  palace, 
and  play  as  many  unruly  gambols  as  they  did 
of  yore  in  the  cave  of  old  ^olus. 

The  humble  log  hut,  which  whilom  nestled 
this  improving  family  snugly  within  its  narrow 
but  comfortable  walls,  stands  hard  by,  in  igno- 
minious contrast,  degraded  into  a cow-house 
or  pig-sty  ; and  the  whole  scene  reminds  one 
forcibly  of  a fable,  which  I am  surprised  has 
never  been  recorded,  of  an  aspiring  snail,  who 
abandoned  his  humble  habitation,  which  he 
had  long  filled  with  great  respectability,  to 
crawl  into  the  empty  shell  of  a lobster, — where 
he  would  no  doubt  have  resided  with  great 
style  and  splendor,  the  envy  and  the  hate  of 
all  the  painstaking  snails  in  the  neighborhood, 
had  he  not  perished  with  cold  in  one  corner  of 
his  stupendous  mansion. 

Being  thus  completely  settled,  and,  to  use 
his  own  words,  “to  rights,”  one  would  imag- 
ine that  he  would  begin  to  enjoy  the  comforts 
of  his  situation, — to  read  newspapers,  talk 
politics,  neglect  his  own  business,  and  attend 

l^anF^ce  /llbannere  299  | 

to  the  affairs  of  the  nation,  like  a useful  and  I 
patriotic  citizen  ; but  now  it  is  that  his  way- 
ward disposition  begins  again  to  operate.  He 
soon  grows  tired  of  a spot  where  there  is  no 
longer  any  room  for  improvement, — sells  his 
farm,  air-castle,  petticoat  windows  and  all,  re- 
loads his  cart,  shoulders  his  axe,  puts  himself 
at  the  head  of  his  family,  and  wanders  away 
in  search  of  new  lands, — again  to  fell  trees, — 
again  to  clear  corn-fields, — again  to  build  a 
shingle  palace,  and  again  to  sell  off  and  wan- 
der. Such  were  the  people  of  Connecticut, 
who  bordered  upon  the  eastern  frontier  of  New 
Netherlands  ; and  my  readers  may  easily  imag- 
ine what  uncomfortable  neighbors  this  light-  1 
hearted  but  restless  tribe  must  have  been  to  1 
our  tranquil  progenitors.  If  they  cannot,  I 
would  ask  them  if  they  have  ever  known  one 
of  our  regular,  well-organized  Dutch  families, 
whom  it  hath  pleased  heaven  to  afflict  with  the 
neighborhood  of  a French  boarding-house  ? 
The  honest  old  burgher  cannot  take  his  after- 
noon’s pipe  on  the  bench  before  his  door,  but 
he  is  persecuted  with  the  scraping  of  fiddles,  | 
the  chattering  of  women,  and  the  squalling  of  ' 
children  ; he  cannot  sleep  at  night  for  the  j 
horrible  melodies  of  some  amateur,  who  chooses 
to  serenade  the  moon,  and  display  his  terrible 
proficiency  in  execution,  on  the  clarionet,  haut- 

300  B Ibistov^  Of  IRew  ftiork 

boy,  or  some  other  soft- toned  instrument ; nor 
can  he  leave  the  street-door  open,  but  his  house 
is  defiled  by  the  unsavory  visits  of  a troop  of 
pup-dogs,  who  even  sometimes  cariy'  their 
loathsome  ravages  into  the  sanctum  sanctorum^ 
the  parlor  ! 

If  my  readers  have  ever  witnessed  the  suffer- 
ings of  such  a family,  so  situated,  they  may 
form  some  idea  how  our  worthy  ancestors  were 
distressed  by  their  mercurial  neighbors  of 

Gangs  of  these  marauders,  we  are  told,  pene- 
trated into  the  New  Netherland  settlements, 
and  threw  whole  villages  into  consternation  by 
their  unparalleled  volubility  and  their  intolera- 
' ble  inquisitiveness, — two  evil  habits  hitherto 
unknown  in  those  parts,  or  only  known  to  be 
abhorred  ; for  our  ancestors  were  noted  as  being 
j men  of  truly  Spartan  taciturnity,  and  who 
' neither  knew  nor  cared  aught  about  anybody’s 
' concerns  but  their  own.  Many  enormities 
were  committed  on  the  highways,  where  sev- 
eral unoffending  burghers  were  brought  to  a 
stand,  and  tortured  with  questions  and  guesses, 
— which  outrages  occasioned  as  much  vexation 
and  heart-burning  as  does  the  modern  right  of 
I search  on  the  high  seas. 

' Great  jealousy  did  they  likewise  stir  up,  b}^ 

; their  intermeddling  and  successes  among  the 

divine  sex  ; for,  being  a race  of  brisk,  likely, 
pleasant-tongued  varlets,  they  soon  seduced 
the  light  affections  of  the  simple  damsels  from 
their  ponderous  Dutch  gallants.  Among  other 
hideous  customs,  they  attempted  to  introduce 
among  them  that  of  bundling,  which  the  Dutch 
lasses  of  the  Nederlandts,  with  that  eager  pas- 
sion for  novelty  and  foreign  fashions  natural 
to  their  sex,  seemed  very  well  inclined  to  fol- 
low, but  that  their  mothers,  being  more  expe- 
rienced in  the  world,  and  better  acquainted 
with  men  and  things,  strenuously  discounte- 
nanced all  such  outlandish  innovations. 

But  what  chiefly  operated  to  embroil  our 
ancestors  with  these  strange  folk,  was  an  un- 
warrantable liberty  which  they  occasionally 
took  of  entering  in  hordes  into  the  territories 
of  the  New  Netherlands,  and  settling  them- 
selves down,  without  leave  or  licence,  to 
improve  the  land,  in  the  manner  I have  before 
noticed.  This  unceremonious  mode  of  taking 
possession  of  new  land  was  technically  termed 
squatting,  and  hence  is  derived  the  appellation 
of  squatters, — a name  odious  in  the  ears  of  all 
great  land-holders,  and  which  is  given  to  those 
enterprising  worthies  who  seize  upon  land  first, 
and  take  their  chance  to  make  good  their  title 
to  it  afterwards. 

All  these  grievances,  and  many  others  which 

l^ankee  /Hbanners 

were  constantly  accumulating,  tended  to  form 
that  dark  and  portentous  cloud,  which,  as  I 
observ^ed  in  a former  chapter,  was  slowly  gath- 
ering over  the  tranquil  province  of  New 
Netherlands.  The  pacific  cabinet  of  Van 
Twiller,  however,  as  will  be  perceived  in  the 
sequel,  bore  them  all  with  a magnanimity  that 


redounds  to  their  immortal  credit,  becoming 
by  passive  endurance  inured  to  this  increasing 
mass  of  wrongs, — like  that  mighty  man  of  old, 
who,  by  dint  of  carrying  about  a calf  from  the 
time  it  was  born,  continued  to  carry  it  without 
difficulty  when  it  had  grown  to  be  an  ox. 

Chapter  IFf. 


Y this  time  my  readers 
must  fully  perceive 
what  an  arduous  task  I 
have  undertaken, — ex- 
ploring a little  kind  of 
Herculaneum  of  history , 
which  had  lain  nearly 
for  ages  buried  under 
the  rubbish  of  years,  and  almost  totally  forgot- 
ten,— raking  up  the  limbs  and  fragments  of 
disjointed  facts,  and  endeavoring  to  put  them 
scrupulously  together,  so  as  to  restore  them  to 
their  original  form  and  connection, — now  lug- 
ging forth  the  character  of  an  almost  forgotten 
hero,  like  a mutilated  statue,  now  deciphering  a 
half-defaced  inscription,  and  now  lighting  upon 
a mouldering  manuscript,  which,  after  painful 
study  scarce  repays  the  trouble  of  perusal. 

/Ilbi66tatemcnt9  of  1bi9toriati0  • 305 



In  such  case,  how  much  has  the  reader  to 

depend  upon  the  honor  and  probity  of  his 

author,  lest,  like  a cunning  antiquarian,  he 

either  impose  upon  him  some  spurious  fabrica- 


tion  of  his  own  for  a precious  relic  of  antiquity, 

or  else  dress  up  the  dismembered  fragment  with 
such  false  trappings,  that  it  is  scarcely  possible 
to  distinguish  the  truth  from  the  fiction  with 


which  it  is  enveloped.  This  is  a grievance 

li  ^ 

which  I have  more  than  once  had  to  lament,  in 
the  course  of  my  wearisome  researches  among 



the  works  of  ni}^  fellow-historians,  who  have 


strangely  disguised  and  distorted  the  facts 

\ / / 

respecting  this  country  ; and  particularly 

k//  ' 

respecting  the  great  province  of  New  Nether- 

lands ; as  will  be  perceived  by  any  who  will 

take  the  trouble  to  compare  their  romantic 

effusions,  tricked  out  in  the  meretricious  gauds 

of  fable,  with  this  authentic  history. 

I have  had  more  vexations  of  the  kind  to 

/ // 

encounter,  in  those  parts  of  my  history  which 

treat  of  the  transactions  on  the  eastern  border. 

than  in  any  other,  in  consequence  of  the  troops 


of  historians  who  have  infested  these  quarters. 


and  have  shown  the  honest  people  of  Nieuw 

Y \ i 

■y-  1 

Nederlandts  no  mercy  in  their  works.  Among 


the  rest,  Mr.  Benjamin  Trumbull  arrogantly 



declares,  that  “ the  Dutch  were  always  mere 


intruders.”  Now,  to  this  I shall  make  no 


VOL.  I —20 


//  A A • 

3o6  b Ibietori?  of  IRew  HJork 

other  reply  than  to  proceed  in  the  steady  nar- 
ration of  my  history,  which  will  contain  not 
only  proofs  that  the  Dutch  had  clear  title  and 
possession  in  the  fair  valleys  of  the  Connecticut, 
and  that  they  were  wrongfully  dispossessed 
thereof,  but  likewise,  that  they  have  been 
scandalously  maltreated  ever  since  by  the 
misrepresentations  of  the  crafty  historians 
of  New  England.  And  in  this  I shall  be 
guided  by  a spirit  of  truth  and  impartiality, 
and  a regard  to  immortal  fame  ; for  I would 
not  wittingly  dishonor  my  work  by  a single 
falsehood,  misrepresentation,  or  prejudice, 
though  it  should  gain  our  forefathers  the 
whole  country  of  New  England. 

I have  already  noticed,  in  a former  chapter 
of  my  history,  that  the  territories  of  the  Nieuw 
Nederlandts,  extended  on  the  east,  quite  to  the 
Varsche  or  fresh,  or  Connecticut  River.  Here, 
at  an  early  period,  had  been  established  a 
frontier  post  on  the  bank  of  the  river,  and 
called  Fort  Goed  Hoop,  not  far  from  the  site 
of  the  present  fair  city  of  Hartford.  It  was 
placed  under  the  command  of  Jacobus  Van 
Curlet,  or  Curbs,  as  some  historians  will  have 
it, — a doughty  soldier,  of  that  stomachful  class 
famous  for  eating  all  they  kill.  He  was  long 
in  the  body  and  short  in  the  limb,  as  though  a 
tall  man’s  body  had  been  mounted  on  a little 



B 1bi6tori2  of  IRcw 

man’s  legs.  He  made  up  for  this  turnspit  con- 
struction by  striding  to  such  an  extent,  that 
you  would  have  sworn  he  had  on  the  seven- 
leagued  boots  of  Jack  the  Giant-killer  ; and  so 
high  did  he  tread  on  parade,  that  his  soldiers 
were  sometimes  alarmed  lest  he  should  trample 
hinivSelf  under  foot. 

But  notwithstanding  the  erection  of  this  fort, 
and  the  appointment  of  this  ugly  little  man  of 
war  as  commander,  the  Yankees  continued  the 
interlopings  hinted  at  in  my  last  chapter,  and 
at  length  had  the  audacity  to  squat  themselves 
down  within  the  jurisdiction  of  Fort  Goed 

The  long-bodied  Van  Curlet  protested  with 
great  spirit  against  these  unwarrantable  en- 
croachments, couching  his  protest  in  Low 
Dutch,  by  way  of  inspiring  more  terror,  and 
forthwith  despatched  a copy  of  the  protest  to 
the  governor  at  New  Amsterdam,  together 
with  a long  and  bitter  account  of  the  aggres- 
sions of  the  enemy.  This  done,  he  ordered 
his  men,  one  and  all,  to  be  of  good  cheer, 
shut  the  gate  of  the  fort,  smoked  three  pipes, 
went  to  bed,  and  awaited  the  result  with  a 
resolute  and  intrepid  tranquillity,  that  greatly 
animated  his  adherents,  and  no  doubt  struck 
sore  dismay  and  affright  into  the  hearts  of  the 



' Q:be  Dencrable' lt)an  ^TwUicr  309 



Now  it  came  to  pass,  that  about  this  time 
the  renowned  Wouter  Van  Twiller,  full  of 

years  and  honors,  and  council-dinners,  had 

f A' 

reached  that  period  of  life  and  faculty  which. 

according  to  the  great  Gulliver,  entitles  a man 


to  admission  into  the  ancient  order  of  Struld- 
bruggs.  He  employed  his  time  in  smoking  his  i 
i Turkish  pipe,  amid  an  assemblage  of  sages,  | 


equally  enlightened  and  nearly  as  venerable  as 

vl  ' 

himself,  and  who,  for  their  silence,  their  gravity. 


^ V 

their  wisdom,  and  their  cautious  averseness  to 

T /T 

coming  to  any  conclusion  in  business,  are  only 


u ' 

to  be  equalled  by  certain  profound  corporations 


which  I have  known  in  m}^  time.  Upon  read- 


ing  the  protest  of  the  gallant  Jacobus  Van 

/ H 

Curlet,  therefore,  his  excellency  fell  straight- 

way into  one  of  the  deepest  doubts  that  ever  he 
was  known  to  encounter  ; his  capacious  head 


gradually  drooped  on  his  chest,  he  closed  his 
eyes,  and  inclined  his  ear  to  one  side,  as  if  lis- 
tening with  great  attention  to  the  discussion 

A ' 

that  was  going  on  in  his  belly, — and  which  all 

who  knew  him  declared  to  be  the  huge  court- 

house or  council-chamber  of  his  thoughts. 


forming  to  his  head  what  the  house  of  repre- 

; / 4 

j sentatives  does  to  the  Senate.  An  inarticulate 

i A i 



77  \ 

sound,  very  much  resembling  a snore,  occa- 


sionally  escaped  him  ; but  the  nature  of  this 


internal  cogitation  was  never  known,  as  he 


/ '■!  X 



B Ibistore  of  IRcw  l^orl? 

never  opened  his  lips  on  the  subject  to  man, 
woman,  or  child.  In  the  meantime,  the 
protest  of  Van  Curlet  lay  quietly  on  the  table, 
where  it  served  to  light  the  pipes  of  the 
venerable  sages  assembled  in  council  ; and 
in  the  great  smoke  which  they  raised,  the 
gallant  Jacobus,  his  protest,  and  his  mighty 
Fort  Goed  Hoop  were  soon  as  completely  be- 
clouded and  forgotten  as  is  a question  of 
emergency  swallowed  up  in  the  speeches  and 
resolutions  of  a modern  session  of  Congress. 

There  are  certain  emergencies  when  your  pro- 
found legislators  and  sage  deliberative  councils 
are  mightily  in  the  way  of  a nation,  and  when 
an  ounce  of  hare-brained  decision  is  worth  a 
pound  of  sage  doubt  and  cautious  discussion. 
Such,  at  least,  was  the  case  at  present ; for, 
while  the  renowned  Wouter  Van  Twiller  was 
daily  battling  with  his  doubts,  and  his  reso- 
lution growing  weaker  and  weaker  in  the  con- 
test, the  enemy  pushed  farther  and  farther  into 
his  territories,  and  assumed  a most  formidable 
appearance  in  the  neighborhood  of  Fort  Goed 
Hoop.  Here  they  founded  the  mighty  town 
of  Pyquag,  or,  as  it  has  since  been  called. 
Weather sfield,  a place  which,  if  we  may  credit 
the  assertions  of  that  worthy  historian,  John 
Josselyn,  Gent.,  “ hath  been  infamous  by  rea- 
son of  the  witches  therein.  ’ ’ And  so  daring  did 


to  strengthen  his  redoubts,  heighten  his  breast- 
works, deepen  his  fosse,  and  fortify  his  position 
with  a double  row  of  abatis ; after  w^hich  he 
despatched  a fresh  courier  with  accounts  of  his 
perilous  situation. 

The  courier  chosen  to  bear  the  despatches 
was  a fat,  oily  little  man,  as  being  less  liable  to 
be  worn  out,  or  to  lose  leather  on  the  journey  ; 
and  to  insure  his  speed,  he  was  mounted  on 
the  fleetest  wagon-horse  in  the  garrison, 
remarkable  for  length  of  limb,  largeness  of 
bone,  and  hardness  of  trot,  and  so  tall,  that  the 
little  messenger  was  obliged  to  climb  on  his 
back  by  means  of  his  tail  and  crupper.  Such 
extraordinary  speed  did  he  make,  that  he 
arrived  at  Fort  Amsterdam  in  a little  less  than 
a month,  though  the  distance  was  full  two  hun- 
dred pipes,  or  about  one  hundred  and  twenty 

With  an  appearance  of  great  hurry  and 
business,  and  smoking  a short  travelling-pipe, 
he  proceeded  on  a long  swing-trot  through  the 
muddy  lanes  of  the  metropolis,  demolishing 
whole  batches  of  dirt  pies,  which  the  little 
Dutch  children  were  making  in  the  road  ; and 
for  which  kind  of  pastry  the  children  of  this 
city  have  ever  been  famous.  On  arriving  at  the 
governor’s  house  he  climbed  down  from  his 
steed,  roused  the  gray-headed  door-keeper,  old 

Arrival  ot  tbe  Courier 

Skaats,  who,  like  his  lineal  descendant  and 
faithful  representative,  the  venerable  crier  of 
our  court,  was  nodding  at  his  post,  rattled  at 
the  door  of  the  council-chamber,  and  startled 
the  members  as  they  were  dozing  over  a plan 
for  establishing  a public  market. 


At  that  very  moment  a gentle  grunt,  or 
rather  a deep-drawn  snore,  was  heard  from  the 
chair  of  the  governor  ; a whiff  of  smoke  was 
at  the  same  instant  observed  to  escape  from  his 
lips,  and  a light  cloud  to  ascend  from  the  bowl 


B Ibistore  of  IRew  l^orh 

of  his  pipe.  The  council,  of  course,  supposed 
him  engaged  in  deep  sleep,  for  the  good  of  the 
community,  and,  according  to  custom  in  all 
such  cases  established,  every  man  bawled  out 
silence,  when,  of  a sudden,  the  door  flew  open, 
and  the  little  courier  straddled  into  the  apart- 
ment, cased  to  the  middle  in  a pair  of  Hessian 
boots,  which  he  had  got  into  for  the  sake  of 
expedition.  In  his  right  hand  he  held  forth 
the  ominous  despatches,  and  with  his  left  he 
grasped  firmly  the  waistband  of  his  galligas- 
kins, which  had  unfortunately  given  way  in 
the  exertion  of  descending  from  his  horse. 
He  stumped  resolutely  up  to  the  governor, 
and  with  more  huriy"  than  perspicuity  de- 
livered his  message.  But  fortunately  his  ill 
tidings  came  too  late  to  ruffle  the  tranquillity 
of  this  most  tranquil  of  rulers.  His  venerable 
excellency  had  just  breathed  and  smoked  his 
last, — his  lungs  and  his  pipe  having  been  ex- 
hausted together,  and  his  peaceful  soul  having 
escaped  in  the  last  whiff  that  curled  from  his 
tobacco-pipe.  In  a word,  the  renowned  Wal- 
ter the  Doubter,  who  had  so  often  slumbered 
with  his  contemporaries,  now  slept  with  his 
fathers,  and  Wilhelmus  Kieft  governed  in  his 

Chapter  IF 


THEN  the  lofty  Thucyd- 
about  to  enter 
▼ upon  his  description  of 
the  plague  that  deso- 
lated  Athens,  one  of 
his  modern  conimenta- 
^Qj.g  assures  the  reader, 
that  the  history  is  now  going  to  be  exceeding 
solemn,  serious,  and  pathetic,  and  hints,  with 
that  air  of  chuckling  gratulation  with  which  a 
good  dame  draws  forth  a choice  morsel  from 
a cupboard  to  regale  a favorite,  that  this 
plague  will  give  his  history  a most  agreeable 

In  like  manner  did  my  heart  leap  within  me, 
when  I came  to  the  dolorous  dilemma  of  Fort 
Goed  Hoop,  which  I at  once  perceived  to  be  the 



3i8  b Ibietorg  of  IRcw  J^ork 

forerunner  of  a series  of  great  events  and  enter- 
taining disasters.  Such  are  the  true  subjects 
for  the  historic  pen.  For  what  is  history,  in 
fact,  but  a kind  of  Newgate  calendar,  a register 
of  the  crimes  and  miseries  that  man  has  in- 
flicted on  his  fellowman  ? It  is  a huge  libel  on 
human  nature,  to  which  we  industriously  add 
page  after  page,  volume  after  volume,  as  if  we 
were  building  up  a monument  to  the  honor, 
rather  than  the  infamy  of  our  species.  If  we 
turn  over  the  pages  of  these  chronicles  that 
man  has  written  of  himself,  what  are  the  char- 
acters dignified  by  the  appellation  of  great, 
and  held  up  to  the  admiration  of  posterity? 
Tyrants,  robbers,  conquerors,  renowned  only 
for  the  magnitude  of  their  misdeeds,  and  the 
stupendous  wrongs  and  miseries  they  have  in- 
flicted on  mankind, — warriors,  who  have  hired 
themselves  to  the  trade  of  blood,  not  from  mo- 
tives of  virtuous  patriotism,  or  to  protect  the 
injured  and  defenceless,  but  merely  to  gain  the 
vaunted  glory  of  being  adroit  and  successful 
in  massacring  their  fellow-beings  ! What  are 
the  great  events  that  constitute  a glorious  era  ? 
— The  fall  of  empires  ; the  desolation  of  happy 
countries  ; splendid  cities  .smoking  in  their 
ruins  ; the  proudest  works  of  art  tumbled  in 
the  dust ; the  shrieks  and  groans  of  whole 
nations  ascending  unto  heaven  ! 


B Ibistor^  of  1Rew  l^ort? 

of  nature,  to  trace  the  mutual  dependencies 
of  things,  how  they  are  created  reciprocally 
for  each  other,  and  how  the  most  noxious 
and  apparently  unnecessary  animal  has  its 
uses.  Thus  those  swarms  of  flies,  which  are  so 
often  execrated  as  useless  vermin,  are  created 
for  the  sustenance  of  spiders ; and  spiders,  on 
the  other  hand,  are  evidently  made  to  devour  j 
flies.  So  those  heroes,  who  have  been  such 
scourges  to  the  world,  were  bounteously  pro- 
vided as  themes  for  the  poet  and  historian, 
while  the  poet  and  the  historian  were  destined 
to  record  the  achievements  of  heroes  ! 

These,  and  many  similar  reflections,  natur- 
ally arose  in  my  mind  as  I took  up  my  pen  to 
commence  the  reign  of  William  Kieft : for  now 
the  stream  of  our  history,  which  hitherto  has  | 
rolled  in  a tranquil  current,  is  about  to  depart  j 
forever  from  its  peaceful  haunts,  and  brawl  i 
through  many  a turbulent  and  rugged  scene.  : 

As  some  sleek  ox,  sunk  in  the  rich  repose  of 
a clover-fleld,  dozing  and  chewing  the  cud,  will  ‘ 
bear  repeated  blows  before  it  raises  itself,  so 
the  province  of  Nieuw  Nederlandts,  having 
waxed  fat  under  the  drowsy  reign  of  the 
Doubter,  needed  cuffs  and  kicks  to  rouse  it  into 
action.  The  reader  will  now  witness  the  man-  j 
ner  in  which  a peaceful  community  advances  i 
towards  a state  of  war  ; which  is  apt  to  be  like 

the  approach  of  a horse  to  a drum,  with  much 
prancing  and  little  progress,  and  too  often  with 
the  wrong  end  foremost. 

Wilhelmus  Kieft,  who  in  1634  ascended 
the  gubernatorial  chair  (to  borrow  a favorite 
though  clumsy  appellation  of  modern  phrase- 
ologists),  was  of  a lofty  descent,  his  father  being 
inspector  of  wind-mills  in  the  ancient  town  of 
Saardam  ; and  our  hero,  we  are  told,  when  a 
boy,  made  very  curious  investigations  into  the 
nature  and  operation  of  these  machines,  which 
was  one  reason  why  he  afterwards  came  to  be 
so  ingenious  a governor.  His  name,  according 
to  the  most  authentic  etymologists,  was  a cor- 
ruption of  Kyver,  that  is  to  say,  a wra7igler  or 
scolder^  and  expressed  the  characteristic  of  his 
family,  which,  for  nearly  two  centuries,  had 
kept  the  windy  town  of  Saardam  in  hot  water, 
and  produced  more  tartars  and  brimstones  than 
any  ten  families  in  the  place  ; and  so  truly  did 
he  inherit  this  family  peculiarity,  that  he  had 
not  been  a year  in  the  government  of  the  prov- 
ince, before  he  was  universally  denominated 
William  the  Testy.  His  appearance  answered 
to  his  name.  He  was  a brisk,  wiry,  waspish 
little  old  gentleman  ; such  a one  as  may  now 
and  then  be  seen  stumping  about  our  city  in  a 
broad-skirted  coat  with  huge  buttons,  a cocked 
hat  stuck  on  the  back  of  his  head,  and  a cane 

VOL.  I. — 21 



¥ ~ 

f ' 


B 1bi6tor^  of  IRew  l^ork 

as  high  as  his  chin.  His  face  was  broad,  but 
his  features  were  sharp  ; his  cheeks  were 
scorched  into  a dusky  red  by  two  fiery  little 
gray  eyes  ; his  nose  turned  up,  and  the  corners 
of  his  mouth  turned  down,  pretty  much  like 
the  muzzle  of  an  irritable  pug-dog. 

I have  heard  it  observed  by  a profound  adept 
in  human  physiology,  that  if  a woman  waxes 
fat  with  the  progress  of  years,  her  tenure  of  life 
is  somewhat  precarious,  but  if  haply  she 
withers  as  she  grows  old,  she  lives  forever. 
Such  promised  to  be  the  case  with  William  the 
Testy,  who  grew  tough  in  proportion  as  he 
dried.  He  had  withered,  in  fact,  not  through 
the  process  of  years,  but  through  the  tropical 
fervor  of  his  soul,  which  burnt  like  a vehement 
rush-light  in  his  bosom,  inciting  him  to  inces- 
sant broils  and  bickerings.  Ancient  traditions 
speak  much  of  his  learning,  and  of  the  gallant 
inroads  he  had  made  into  the  dead  languages, 
in  which  he  had  made  captive  a host  of  Greek 
nouns  and  Latin  verbs,  and  brought  off  rich 
booty  in  ancient  saws  and  apothegms,  which  he 
was  wont  to  parade  in  his  public  harangues,  as 
a triumphant  general  of  yore  his  spolia  opima. 
Of  metaphysics  he  knew  enough  to  confound 
all  hearers  and  himself  into  the  bargain.  In 
logic,  he  knew  the  whole  family  of  syllogisms 
and  dilemmas,  and  was  so  proud  of  his  skill 




B Ibiatori^  of  IRew  loth 

that  he  never  suffered  even  a self-evident  fact  to 
pass  unargued.  It  was  observed,  however,  that 
he  seldom  got  into  an  argument  without 
getting  into  a perplexit}^,  and  then  into  a pas- 
sion with  his  adversary  for  not  being  convinced 

He  had,  moreover,  skirmished  smartly  on 
the  frontiers  of  several  of  the  sciences,  was 
fond  of  experimental  philosophy,  and  prided 
himself  upon  inventions  of  all  kinds.  His 
abode,  which  he  had  fixed  at  a Bowerie  or 
country-seat  at  a short  distance  from  the  city, 
just  at  what  is  now  called  Dutch  Street,  soon 
abounded  with  proofs  of  his  ingenuity  : patent 
smoke-jacks  that  required  a horse  to  work 
them  ; Dutch  ovens  that  roasted  meat  without 
fire  ; carts  that  went  before  the  horses  ; weather- 
cocks that  turned  against  the  wind  ; and  other 
wrong-headed  contrivances  that  astonished  and 
confounded  all  beholders.  The  house,  too,  was 
beset  with  paralytic  cats  and  dogs,  the  subjects 
of  his  experimental  philosophy  ; and  the  yelling 
and  yelping  of  the  latter  unhappy  victims  of  sci- 
ence, while  aiding  in  the  pursuit  of  knowledge, 
soon  gained  for  the  place  the  name  of  “ Dog’s 
Misery,”  by  which  it  continues  to  be  known 
at  the  present  day. 

It  is  in  knowledge  as  in  swimming  ; he  who 
flounders  and  splashes  on  the  surface  makes 



TUnivcreal  0cniu9 


more  noise,  and  attracts  more  attention,  than 
the  pearl-diver  who  quietly  dives  in  quest  of 
treasures  at  the  bottom.  The  vast  acquire- 
ments of  the  new  governor  were  the  theme 
of  marvel  among  the  simple  burghers  of  New 
Amsterdam ; he  figured  about  the  place  as 
learned  a man  as  a Bonze  at  Pekin,  who  has 
mastered  one  half  of  the  Chinese  alphabet,  and 
was  unanimously  pronounced  a “ universal 
genius  ? ’ ’ 

I have  known  in  my  time  many  a genius  of 
this  stamp  ; but,  to  speak  my  mind  freely,  I 
never  knew  one  who,  for  the  ordinary  purposes 
of  life,  was  worth  his  weight  in  straw.  In 
this  respect,  a little  sound  judgment  and  plain 
common-sense  is  worth  all  the  sparkling  genius 
that  ever  wrote  poetry  or  invented  theories. 
Let  us  see  how  the  universal  acquirements  of 
William  the  Testy  aided  him  in  the  affairs  of 

Chapter  n. 


U O sooner  had  this  bustling 
K little  potentate  been  blown 
Bf  by  a whilf  of  fortune  into 
'P  the  seat  of^  government 
than  he  called  his  council 
together  to  make  them  a 
speech  on  the  state  of 

Caius  Gracchus,  it  is 

said,  when  he  harangued  the  Roman  populace, 
modulated  his  tone  by  an  oratorical  flute  or 
pitch-pipe  ; Wilhelmus  Kieft,  not  having  such 
an  instrument  at  hand,  availed  himself  of  that 
musical  organ  or  trump  which  nature  has  im- 
planted in  the  midst  of  a man’s  face  : in  other 
words,  he  preluded  his  address  by  a sonorous 
blast  of  the  nose, — a preliminary  flourish  much 
in  vogue  among  public  orators. 

He  then  commenced  by  expressing  his  hum- 


ble  sense  of  his  utter  unworthiness  of  the  high 
post  to  which  he  had  been  appointed  ; which 
made  some  of  the  simple  burghers  wonder  why 
he  undertook  it,  not  knowing  that  it  is  a 
point  of  etiquette  with  a public  orator  never  to 
enter  upon  a public  office  without  declaring 
himself  unworthy  to  cross  the  threshold.  He 
then  proceeded  in  a manner  highly  classic  and 
erudite  to  speak  of  government  generally,  and 
of  the  governments  of  ancient  Greece  in  particu- 
lar, together  with  the  wars  of  Rome  and  Car- 
thage, and  the  rise  and  fall  of  sundry  outlandish 
empires  which  the  worthy  burghers  had  never 
read  nor  heard  of.  Having  thus,  after  the 
manner  of  your  learned  orator,  treated  things 
in  general,  he  came,  by  a natural,  roundabout 
transition,  to  the  matter  in  hand,  namely,  the 
daring  aggressions  of  the  Yankees. 

As  my  readers  are  well  aware  of  the  advan- 
tage a potentate  has  in  handling  his  enemies  as 
he  pleases  in  his  speeches  and  bulletins,  where 
he  has  the  talk  all  on  his  own  side,  they  may 
rest  assured  that  William  the  Testy  did  not  let 
such  an  opportunity  escape  of  giving  the 
Yankees  what  is  called  ‘ ‘ a taste  of  his  quality.  ’ ’ 
In  speaking  of  their  inroads  into  the  territories 
of  their  High  Mightinesses,  he  compared  them 
to  the  Gauls  who  desolated  Rome,  the  Goths 
and  Vandals  who  overran  the  fairest  plains  of 


B 1bi6tori5  of  IRew  l^ork 

Europe  ; but  when  he  came  to  speak  of  the 
unparalleled  audacity  with  which  they  of 
Weathersfield  had  advanced  their  patches  up 
to  the  ver}"  walls  of  Fort  Goed  Hoop,  and 
threatened  to  smother  the  garrison  in  onions, 
tears  of  rage  started  into  his  eyes,  as  though 
he  nosed  the  very  offence  in  question. 

Having  thus  wrought  up  his  tale  to  a climax, 
he  assumed  a most  belligerent  look,  and 
assured  the  council  that  he  had  devised  an  in- 
strument, potent  in  its  effects,  and  which  he 
trusted  would  soon  drive  the  Yankees  from  the 
land.  So  saying,  he  thrust  his  hand  into  one 
of  the  deep  pockets  of  his  broad-skirted  coat 
and  drew  forth,  not  an  infernal  machine,  but  an 
instrument  in  writing,  which  he  laid  with  great 
emphasis  upon  the  table. 

The  burghers  gazed  at  it  for  a time  in  silent 
awe,  as  a wary  housewife  does  at  a gun,  fearful 
it  may  go  off  half-cocked.  The  document  in 
question  had  a sinister  look,  it  is  true ; it  was 
crabbed  in  text,  and  from  a broad  red  ribbon 
dangled  the  great  seal  of  the  province,  about 
the  size  of  a buckwheat  pancake.  Still,  after 
all,  it  was  but  an  instrument  in  writing. 
Herein,  however,  existed  the  wonder  of  the 
invention.  The  document  in  question  was  a 
Proclamation,  ordering  the  Yankees  to 
depart  instantly  from  the  territories  of  their 

B IFlew  /lRoC)e  of  (Sovernmcnt 

High  Mightinesses,  under  pain  of  suffering  all 
the  forfeitures  and  punishments  in  such  a case 
made  and  provided.  In  was  on  the  moral 
effect  of  this  formidable  instrument  that 
Wilhelmus  Kieft  calculated,  pledging  his  valor 
as  a governor  that,  once  fulminated  against  the 


Yankees,  it  would,  in  less  than  two  months, 
drive  every  mother’s  son  of  them  across  the 

The  council  broke  up  in  perfect  wonder  ; and 
nothing  was  talked  of  for  some  time  among  the 
old  men  and  women  of  New  Amsterdam  but 
the  vast  genius  of  the  governor,  and  his  new 
and  cheap  mode  of  fighting  by  proclamation. 


B 1bi0tori2  of  IRew  lock 

As  to  Wilhelmus  Kieft,  having  despatched 
his  proclamation  to  the  frontiers,  he  put  on  his 
cocked  hat  and  corduroy  small-clothes,  and 
mounting  a tall  raw-boned  charger,  trotted  out 
to  his  rural  retreat  of  Dog’s  Misery.  Here,  like 
the  good  Numa,  he  reposed  from  the  toils  of 
state,  taking  lessons  in  government,  not  from 
the  nymph  Egeria,  but  from  the  honored  wife 
of  his  bosom  ; who  was  one  of  that  class  of 
females  sent  upon  the  earth  a little  after  the 
flood,  as  a punishment  for  the  sins  of  mankind, 
and  commonly  known  by  the  appellation  of 
blowing  women.  In  fact,  my  duty  as  an  his- 
torian obliges  me  to  make  known  a circum- 
stance which  was  a great  secret  at  the  time, 
and  consequently  was  not  a subject  of  scandal 
at  more  than  half  the  tea-tables  in  New  Am- 
sterdam, but  which,  like  many  other  great 
secrets,  has  leaked  out  in  the  lapse  of  years, — 
and  this  was,  that  Wilhelmus  the  Testy, 
though  one  of  the  most  potent  little  men  that 
ever  breathed,  yet  submitted  at  home  to  a 
species  of  government,  neither  laid  down  in 
Aristotle  nor  Plato  ; in  short,  it  partook  of  the 
nature  of  a pure,  unmixed  tyranny,  and  is 
familiarly  denominated  petticoat  government — 
an  absolute  sway,  which,  although  exceed- 
ingly common  in  these  modern  days,  was  very 
rare  among  the  ancients,  if  we  may  judge  from 

Ipctttcoat  (3overnment 

the  rout  made  about  the  domestic  economy  of 
honest  Socrates  ; which  is  the  only  ancient  case 
on  record. 

The  great  Kieft,  however,  warded  off  all  the 
sneers  and  sarcasms  of  his  particular  friends, 
who  are  ever  ready  to  joke  with  a man  on  sore 
points  of  the  kind,  by  alleging  that  it  was  a 
government  of  his  own  election,  to  which  he 
submitted  through  choice,  adding  at  the  same 
time  a profound  maxim  which  he  had  found  in 
an  ancient  author,  that  ‘ ‘ he  who  would  aspire 
to  goverji^  should  first  learn  to  obey'' 



A ruder  of  universae  genius  — the  art  of 


[EVER  was  a more  compre- 
hensive, a more  expedi- 
tious, or,  what  is  still 
better,  a more  economical 
measure  devised,  than  this 
of  defeating  the  Yankees 
by  proclamation, — an  ex- 
pedient, likewise,  so  gentle 
and  humane,  there  were 
ten  chances  to  one  in  favor  of  its  succeeding  ; but 
then  there  was  one  chance  to  ten  that  it  would 
not  succeed, — as  the  ill-natured  fates  would 
have  it,  that  single  chance  carried  the  day  ! 
The  proclamation  was  perfect  in  all  its  parts, 
well  constructed,  well  written,  well  sealed,  and 
well  published  ; all  that  was  wanting  to  insure 
its  effect  was,  that  the  Y ankees  should  stand  in 

Zbc  l^ankeee'  Bncroacbmcnts 

awe  of  it ; but,  provoking  to  relate,  they  treated 
it  with  the  most  absolute  contempt,  applied  it 
to  an  unseemly  purpose  ; and  thus  did  the  first 
warlike  proclamation  come  to  a shameful  end, 
— a fate  which  I am  credibly  informed  has 
befallen  but  too  many  of  its  successors. 


So  far  from  abandoning  the  country,  those 
varlets  continued  their  encroachments,  squat- 
ting along  the  green  banks  of  the  Varsche 
River,  and  founding  Hartford,  Stamford,  New 
Haven,  and  other  border-towns.  I have 
already  shown  how  the  onion  patches  of  Pyquag 


B Ibietor^  of  Mew  l^ork 

were  an  eye-sore  to  Jacobus  Van  Curlet  and 
his  garrison  ; but  now  these  moss-troopers 
increased  in  their  atrocities,  kidnapping  hogs, 
impounding  horses,  and  sometimes  grievously 
rib-roasting  their  owners.  Our  worthy  fore- 
fathers could  scarcely  stir  abroad  without 
danger  of  being  out-jockeyed  in  horse-flesh,  or 
taken  in  in  bargaining  ; while,  in  their  absence, 
some  daring  Yankee  peddler  would  penetrate 
to  their  household,  and  nearly  ruin  the  good 
housewives  with  tin  ware  and  wooden  bowls.* 

I am  well  aware  of  the  perils  which  environ 
me  in  this  part  of  my  history.  While  raking 
with  curious  hand  but  pious  heart,  among  the 
mouldering  remains  of  former  days,  anxious 
to  draw  therefrom  the  honey  of  wisdom,  I ma}" 
fare  somewhat  like  that  valiant  worthy,  Sam- 
son, who,  in  meddling  with  the  carcass  of  a 

* The  following  cases  in  point  appear  in  Hazard’s 
Collection  of  State  Papers. 

“ In  the  meantime,  they  of  Hartford  have  not  onely 
usurped  and  taken  in  the  lands  of  Connecticott, 
although  unrighteously  and  against  the  lawes  of  na- 
tions but  have  hindered  our  nation  in  sowing  theire 
own  purchased  broken  up  lands,  but  have  also  sowed 
them  with  come  in  the  night,  which  the  Nederlan- 
ders  had  broken  up  and  intended  to  sowe  : and  have 
beaten  the  servants  of  the  high  and  mighty  the 
honored  companie,  which  were  laboring  upon  theire 
master’s  lands,  from  theire  lands,  with  sticks  and 

^be  Yankees*  JEncroacbments 


^ dead  lion,  drew  a swarm  of  bees  about  his  ears. 

! Thus,  while  narrating  the  many  misdeeds  of 
' the  Yanokie  or  Yankee  race,  it  is  ten  chances 
to  one  but  I offend  the  morbid  sensibilities  of 
certain  of  their  unreasonable  descendants,  who 
' may  fly  out  and  raise  such  a buzzing  about 
this  unlucky  head  of  mine,  that  I shall  need 
the  tough  hide  of  an  Achilles,  or  an  Orlando 
Furioso,  to  protect  me  from  their  stings. 

Should  such  be  the  case,  I should  deeply 
and  sincerely  lament, — not  my  misfortune  in 
giving  offence,  but  the  wrong-headed  per- 
verseness of  an  ill-natured  generation,  in 
' taking  offence  at  anything  I say.  That  their 
ancestors  did  use  my  ancestors  ill  is  true,  and 
I am  very  sorry  for  it.  I would,  with  all  my 
heart,  the  fact  were  otherwise ; but  as  I am 
recording  the  sacred  events  of  history,  I ’d  not 

plow  staves  iu  hostile  manner  laming,  and  among  the 
rest,  struck  Ever  Duckings  [Evert  Duyekink]  a hole 
in  his  head,  with  a stick,  so  that  the  bloode  ran  downe 
1 very  strongly  downe  upon  his  body.” 

“Those  of  Hartford  sold  a hogg,  that  belonged  to 
the  honored  companie,  under  pretence  that  he  had 
eaten  of  theire  grouude  grass,  when  they  had  not  any 
foot  of  inheritance.  They  proffered  the  hogg  for  55.  I 
if  the  commissioners  would  have  given  55.  for 
damage  ; which  the  commissioners  denied,  because 
noe  man’s  own  hogg  (as  men  used  to  say)  can  trespass 
upon  his  owne  master’s  grounde.” 


B 1bi6tori2  of  IRew  |)orh 

bate  one  nail’s  breadth  of  the  honest  truth, 
though  I were  sure  the  whole  edition  of  m3" 
work  would  be  bought  up  and  burnt  by  the 
common  hangman  of  Connecticut.  And  in 
sooth,  now  that  these  testy  gentlemen  have 
drawn  me  out,  I will  make  bold  to  go  further, 
and  observe  that  this  is  one  of  the  grand  pur- 
poses for  which  we  impartial  historians  are 
sent  into  the  world,  to  redress  wrongs  and 
render  justice  on  the  heads  of  the  guilt3".  So 
that,  though  a powerful  nation  may  wrong  its 
neighbors  with  temporary  impunity,  3^et  sooner 
or  later  an  historian  springs  up,  who  wreaks 
ample  chastisement  on  it  in  return. 

Thus  these  moss-troopers  of  the  east  little 
thought,  I ’ll  warrant  it,  while  they  were 
harassing  the  inoffensive  province  of  Nieuw 
Nederlandts,  and  driving  its  unhappy  gov- 
ernor to  his  wit’s  end,  that  an  historian  would 
ever  arise,  and  give  them  their  own,  with 
interest.  Since,  then,  I am  but  performing 
my  bounden  duty  as  an  historian,  in  avenging 
the  wrongs  of  our  revered  ancestors,  I shall 
make  no  further  apology  ; and,  indeed,  when 
I it  is  considered  that  I have  all  these  ancient 
borderers  of  the  east  in  my  power,  and  at 
the  mercy  of  my  pen,  I trust  that  it  will  be 
admitted  I conduct  myself  with  great  humanity 
and  moderation. 


It  was  long  before  William  the  Testy  could 
be  persuaded  that  his  much- vaunted  war- 
measure  was  ineffectual  ; on  the  contrary,  he 
flew  in  a passion  whenever  it  was  doubted, 
swearing  that,  though  slow  in  operation,  yet 
when  it  once  began  to  work,  it  would  soon 
purge  the  land  of  these  invaders.  When  con- 
vinced' at  length,  of  the  truth,  like  a shrewd 
physician  he  attributed  the  failure  to  the 
quantity,  not  the  quality  of  the  medicine,  and 
resolved  to  double  the  dose.  He  fulminated, 
therefore,  a second  proclamation,  more  vehe- 
ment than  the  first,  forbidding  all  intercourse 
with  these  Yankee  intruders,  ordering  the 
Dutch  burghers  on  the  frontiers  to  buy  none 
of  their  pacing  horses,  measly  pork,  apple- 
sweetmeats,  Weathersfield  onions,  or  wooden 
bowls,  and  to  furnish  them  with  no  supplies 
of  gin,  gingerbread,  or  sourkrout. 

Another  interval  elapsed,  during  which  the 
last  proclamation  was  as  little  regarded  as  the 
first ; and  the  non-intercourse  was  especially 
set  at  naught  by  the  young  folks  of  both 
sexes,  if  we  may  judge  by  the  active  bundling 
which  took  place  along  the  borders. 

At  length,  one  day  the  inhabitants  of  New 
Amsterdam  were  aroused  by  a furious  barking 
of  dogs,  great  and  small,  and  beheld,  to  their 
surprise,  the  whole  garrison  of  Fort  Goed 


B 1f3i0tor^  of  IRew  l^ork 

Hoop  straggling  into  town  all  tattered  and 
wayworn,  with  Jacobus  Van  Curlet  at  their 
head,  bringing  the  melancholy  intelligence 
of  the  capture  of  Fort  Goed  Hoop  by  the 

The  fate  of  this  important  fortress  is  an 
impressive  warning  to  all  military  command- 
ers. It  was  neither  carried  by  storm  nor 
famine ; nor  was  it  undermined  ; nor  bom- 
barded ; nor  set  on  fire  by  red-hot  shot ; but 
was  taken  by  a stratagem  no  less  singular  than 
effectual,  and  which  can  never  fail  of  success, 
whenever  an  opportunity  occurs  of  putting  it 
in  practice. 

It  seems  that  the  Yankees  had  received  in- 
telligence that  the  garrison  of  Jacobus  Van 
Curlet  had  been  reduced  nearly  one  eighth  by 
the  death  of  two  of  his  most  corpulent  soldiers, 
who  had  overeaten  themselves  on  fat  salmon 
caught  in  the  Varsche  River.  A secret  expedi- 
tion was  immediately  set  on  foot  to  surprise 
the  fortress.  The  crafty  enemy,  knowing  the 
habits  of  the  garrison  to  sleep  soundly  after 
they  had  eaten  their  dinners  and  smoked  their 
pipes,  stole  upon  them  at  the  noontide  of  a 
sultry  summer’s  day,  and  surprised  them  in  the 
midst  of  their  slumbers. 

In  an  instant  the  flag  of  their  High  Mighti- 
nesses was  lowered,  and  the  Yankee  standard 


B Ibtstor^  of  IRew  ll?orh 

elevated  in  its  stead,  being  a dried  codfish,  by 
way  of  a spread  eagle.  A strong  garrison  was 
appointed,  of  long-sided,  hard-fisted  Yankees, 
with  Weathersfield  onions  for  cockades  and 
feathers.  As  to  Jacobus  Van  Curlet  and  his 
men,  they  were  seized  by  the  nape  of  the 
neck,  conducted  to  the  gate,  and  one  by  one 
dismissed  by  a kick  in  the  crupper,  as  Charles 
XII.  dismissed  the  heavy-bottomed  Russians 
at  the  battle  of  Narva;  Jacobus  Van  Curlet 
receiving  two  kicks  in  consideration  of  his 
official  dignity. 

Chapter  Hit). 


testy,  and  the  AEARM  of  new  AMSTERDAM — 


ANGUAGE  cannot  ex- 
press the  awful  ire  of 
William  the  Testy  on 
hearing  of  the  catastro- 
phe at  Fort  Goed  Hoop. 
For  three  good  hours 
his  rage  was  too  great 
for  words,  or  rather  the 

I words  were  too  great  for  him  (being  a very 
small  man),  and  he  was  nearly  choked  by  the 
misshapen,  nine-cornered  Dutch  oaths  and 
epithets  which  crowded  at  once  into  his  gullet. 
At  length  his  words  found  vent,  and  for  three 
days  he  kept  up  a constant  discharge,  anathe- 
matizing the  Yankees,  man,  woman,  and  child. 

twistzoekeren,  blaes-kaken,  loosen-sclialken, 
kakken-bedden,  and  a thousand  other  names, 
of  which,  unfortunately  for  posterity,  history 
does  not  mention.  Finally,  he  swore  that  he 
would  have  nothing  more  to  do  with  such  a 
squatting,  bundling,  guessing,  questioning, 
swapping,  pumpkin-eating,  molasses-daubing, 
shingle-splitting,  cider-watering,  horse-jockey- 
ing, notion-peddling  crew ; that  they  might 
stay  at  Fort  Goed  Hoop  and  rot,  before  he 
would  dirty  his  hands  by  attempting  to  drive 
them  away  : in  proof  of  which  he  ordered  the 
new-raised  troops  to  be  marched  forthwith  into 
winter-quarters,  although  it  was  not  as  yet 
quite  midsummer.  Great  despondency  now 
fell  upon  the  city  of  New  Amsterdam.  It  was 
feared  that  the  conquerors  of  Fort  Goed  Hoop, 
flushed  with  victory  and  apple-brandy,  might 
march  on  to  the  capital,  take  it  by  storm,  and 
annex  the  whole  province  to  Connecticut.  The 
name  of  Yankee  became  as  terrible  among  the 
Nieuw  Nederlanders  as  was  that  of  Gaul  among 
the  ancient  Romans  ; insomuch  that  the  good 
wives  of  the  Manhattoes  used  it  as  a bugbear 
wherewith  to  frighten  their  unruly  children. 

Everybody  clamored  around  the  governor, 
imploring  him  to  put  the  city  in  a complete 
posture  of  defence  ; and  he  listened  to  their 
clamors.  Nobody  could  accuse  William  the 

Maiime  preparations 

Testy  of  being  idle  in  time  of  danger,  or  at  any 
other  time.  He  was  never  idle,  but  then  he 
was  often  busy  to  very  little  purpose.  When  a 
youngling,  he  had  been  impressed  with  the 
words  of  Solomon,  “ Go  to  the  ant,  thou  slug- 
gard, observe  her  ways  and  be  wise  ” ; in  con- 
formity to  which  he  had  ever  been  of  a restless, 
ant-like  turn,  hurrying  hither  and  thither, 
nobody  knew  why  or  wherefore,  busying  him- 
self about  small  matters  with  an  air  of  great 
importance  and  anxiety,  and  toiling  at  a grain  of 
mustard-seed  in  the  full  conviction  that  he  was 
moving  a mountain.  In  the  present  instance, 
he  called  in  all  his  inventive  powers  to  his 
aid,  and  was  continually  pondering  over  plans, 
making  diagrams,  and  worrying  about  with  a 
troop  of  workmen  and  projectors  at  his  heels. 
At  length,  after  a world  of  consultation  and 
contrivance,  his  plans  of  defence  ended  in  rear- 
ing a great  flag-staff  in  the  centre  of  the  fort, 
and  perching  a wind-mill  on  each  bastion. 

These  warlike  preparations  in  some  measure 
allayed  the  public  alarm,  especially  after  an 
additional  means  of  securing  the  safety  of  the 
city  had  been  suggested  by  the  governor’s 
lady.  It  has  already  been  hinted  in  this  most 
authentic  history,  that  in  the  domestic  establish- 
ment of  William  the  Testy  ‘ ‘ the  gray  mare 
was  the  better  horse  ” ; in  other  words,  that 


B Ibistor^  ot  IRcvv  lI)or{? 

his  wife  “ruled  the  roast,”  and  in  governing 
the  governor,  governed  the  province,  which 
might  thus  be  said  to  be  under  petticoat  gov- 

Now  it  came  to  pass,  that  about  this  time 
there  lived  in  Manhattoes  a jolly,  robustious 
trumpeter,  named  Antony  Van  Corlear,  famous 
for  his  long  wind  ; and  who,  as  the  story  goes, 
could  twang  so  potently  upon  his  instrument, 
that  the  effect  upon  all  within  hearing  was  like 
that  ascribed  to  the  Scotch  bagpipe  when  it 
sings  right  lustily  i’  the  nose. 

This  sounder  of  brass  was  moreover  a lusU' 
bachelor,  with  a pleasant,  burly  visage,  a long 
nose,  and  huge  whiskers.  He  had  his  little 
bozverie,  or  retreat,  in  the  country,  where  he  led 
a roistering  life,  giving  dances  to  the  wives  and 
daughters  of  the  burghers  of  the  Manhattoes, 
insomuch  that  he  became  a prodigious  favorite 
with  all  the  women,  young  and  old.  He  is 
said  to  have  been  the  first  to  collect  that 
famous  toll  levied  on  the  fair  sex  at  Kissing 
Bridge,  on  the  highway  to  Hellgate.* 

To  this  sturdy  bachelor  the  eyes  of  all  the 

*The  bridge  here  mentioned  by  Mr.  Knickerbocker 
still  exists  ; but  it  is  said  that  the  toll  is  seldom  col- 
lected nowadays,  excepting  on  sleighing  parties,  by 
the  descendants  of  the  patriarchs,  who  still  preserve 
the  traditions  of  the  citv. 


Bntong  Dan  Corlear 


women  were  turned  in  this  time  of  darkness 
and  peril,  as  the  very  man  to  second  and 
carry  out  the  plans  of  defence  of  the  gov- 
ernor. A kind  of  petticoat  council  was  forth- 
with held  at  the  government  house,  at  which 
the  governor’s  lady  presided  ; and  this  lady, 
as  has  been  hinted,  being  all  potent  with  the 
governor,  the  result  of  these  councils  was  the 
elevation  of  Antony  the  Trumpeter  to  the  post 
of  commandant  of  wind-mills  and  champion 
of  New  Amsterdam. 

The  city  being  thus  fortified  and  garrisoned, 
it  would  have  done  one’s  heart  good  to  .see  the 
governor  snapping  his  fingers  and  fidgeting 
with  delight,  as  the  trumpeter  strutted  up  and 
down  the  ramparts,  twanging  defiance  to  the 
whole  Yankee  race,  as  does  a modern  editor  to 
all  the  principalities  and  powers  on  the  other 
side  of  the  Atlantic.  In  the  hands  of  Antony 
Van  Corlear  this  windy  instrument  appeared 
to  him  as  potent  as  the  horn  of  the  paladin 
Astolpho,  or  even  the  more  classic  horn  of 
Alecto  ; nay,  he  had  almost  the  temerity  to 
compare  it  with  the  rams’  horns  celebrated  in 
Holy  Writ,  at  the  very  sound  of  which  the 
walls  of  Jericho  fell  down. 

Be  all  this  as  it  may,  the  apprehensions  of 
hostilities  from  the  east  gradually  died  away. 
The  Yankees  made  no  further  invasion  ; nay. 



B Ibietori?  of  IRew  l^orft 

they  declared  that  they  had  only  taken  pOvSses- 
sion  of  Fort  Goed  Hoop  as  being  erected 
within  their  territories.  So  far  from  manifest- 
ing hostility,  they  continued  to  throng  to  New 
Amsterdam  with  the  most  innocent  counte- 
nances imaginable,  filling  the  market  with 
their  notions,  being  as  ready  to  trade  with  the 
Nederlanders  as  ever,  and  not  a whit  more 
prone  to  get  to  the  windward  of  them  in  a 

The  old  wives  of  the  Manhattoes,  who  took 
tea  with  the  governor’s  lady,  attributed  all  this 
affected  moderation  to  the  awe  inspired  by  the 
military  preparations  of  the  governor,  and  the 
wind}"  prowess  of  Antony  the  Trumpeter. 

There  were  not  wanting  illiberal  minds, 
however,  who  sneered  at  the  governor  for 
thinking  to  defend  his  city  as  he  governed  it, 
by  mere  wind  ; but  William  Kieft  was  not  to 
be  jeered  out  of  his  wind-mills  : he  had  seen 
them  perched  upon  the  ramparts  of  his  native 
city  of  Saardam,  and  was  persuaded  they  were 
connected  with  the  great  science  of  defence  ; 
nay,  so  much  piqued  was  he  by  having  them 
made  a matter  of  ridicule,  that  he  introduced 
them  into  the  arms  of  the  city,  where  they 
remain  to  this  day,  quartered  with  the  ancient 
beaver  of  the  Manhattoes,  an  emblem  and 
memento  of  his  policy. 

I must  not  omit  to  mention  that  certain  wise 
old  burghers  of  the  Manhattoes,  skilful  in 
expounding  signs  and  mj^steries,  after  events 
have  come  to  pass,  consider  this  early  intrusion 
of  the  wind-mill  into  the  escutcheon  of  our 
city,  which  before  had  been  wholly  occupied 
by  the  beaver,  as  portentous  of  its  after  for- 
tune, when  the  quiet  Dutchman  would  be 
elbowed  aside  by  the  enterprising  Yankee,  and 
patient  industry  overtopped  by  windy  specu- 


Cbapter  D. 


MONO  the  wrecks  and 
fragments  of  exalted  wis- 
dom, which  have  floated 
down  the  stream  of  time 
from  venerable  antiquity, 
and  been  picked  up  by 
those  humble  but  indus- 
trious wights  who  ply 
along  the  shores  of  litera- 
ture, we  find  a shrewd 
ordinance  of  Charondas 


^ the  Locrian  legislator. 
Anxious  to  preserve  the  j udicial  code  of  the  State 
from  the  additions  and  amendments  of  country 
members  and  seekers  of  popularity,  he  ordained 
that,  whoever  proposed  a new  law,  should  do  it 
with  a halter  about  his  neck  ; whereby,  in  case 
his  proposition  were  rejected,  they  just  hung 
him  up — and  there  the  matter  ended, 


B Ibietor^  of  IWcw  l^orf? 

The  effect  was,  that  for  more  than  two  hun- 
dred years  there  was  but  one  trifling  alteration 
in  the  j udicial  code  ; and  legal  matters  were  so 
clear  and  .simple  that  the  whole  race  of  lawyers 
starved  to  death  for  want  of  employment.  The 
Locrians,  too,  being  freed  from  all  incitement 
to  litigation,  lived  ver}^  lovingly  together,  and 
were  so  happy  a people  that  they  make  scarce 
any  figure  in  history  ; it  being  only  your  liti- 
gious, quarrelsome,  rantipole  nations  who 
make  much  noise  in  the  world. 

I have  been  reminded  of  these  historical  facts 
incoming  to  treat  of  the  internal  policy  of  Wil- 
liam the  Testy.  Well  would  it  have  been  for 
him  had  he  in  the  course  of  his  universal  ac- 
quirements stumbled  upon  the  precaution  of 
the  good  Charondas,  or  had  he  looked  nearer 
home  at  the  protectorate  of  Oloffe  the  Dreamer, 
when  the  community  was  governed  without 
laws.  Such  legislation,  however,  was  not 
suited  to  the  busy,  meddling  mind  of  William 
the  Testy.  On  the  contrary,  he  conceived  that 
the  true  wisdom  of  legislation  consisted  in  the 
multiplicity  of  laws.  He  accordingly  had 
great  punishments  for  great  crimes,  and  little 
punishments  for  little  offences.  By  degrees  the 
whole  surface  of  society  was  cut  up  by  ditches 
and  fences,  and  quickset  hedges  of  the  law,  and 
even  the  sequestered  paths  of  private  life  so 

■ffntcrnal  jpoUc^ 

beset  by  petty  rules  and  ordinances,  too  num- 
erous to  be  remembered,  that  one  could  scarce 
walk  at  large  without  the  risk  of  letting  off  a 
spring-gun  or  falling  into  a man-trap. 

In  a little  while  the  blessings  of  innumerable 
laws  became  apparent ; a class  of  men  arose  to 
expound  and  confound  them.  Petty  courts 
were  instituted  to  take  cognizance  of  petty 
offences,  pettifoggers  began  to  abound ; and 
the  community  was  soon  set  together  by  the 

Let  me  not  be  thought  as  intending  anything 
derogatory  to  the  profession  of  the  law,  or  to 
the  distinguished  members  of  that  illustrious 
order.  Well  am  I aware  that  we  have  in  this 
ancient  city  innumerable  worthy  gentlemen, 
the  knights-errant  of  modern  days,  who  go 
about  redressing  wrongs  and  defending  the 
defenceless,  not  for  the  love  of  filthy  lucre,  nor 
the  selfish  cravings  of  renown,  but  merely  for 
the  pleasure  of  doing  good.  Sooner  would  I 
throw  this  trusty  pen  into  the  flames,  and  cork 
up  my  ink-bottle  forever,  than  infringe  even 
for  a nail’s  breadth  upon  the  dignity  of  these 
truly  benevolent  champions  of  the  distressed. 
On  the  contrary,  I allude  merely  to  those  caitiff 
scouts  who,  in  these  latter  days  of  evil,  infest 
the  skirts  of  the  profession,  as  did  the  recreant 
Cornish  knights  of  yore  the  honorable  order  of 


B Ibistor^  of  IRew  l^orf? 

chivalry, — who,  under  its  auspices,  commit 
flagrant  wrongs, — who  thrive  by  quibbles,  by 
quirks  and  chicanery,  and  like  vermin  increase 
the  corruption  in  which  they  are  engendered. 

Nothing  so  soon  awakes  the  malevolent 
passions  as  the  facilit}^  of  gratification.  The 
courts  of  law  would  never  be  so  crowded  with 
pett3q  vexatious,  and  disgraceful  suits,  were  it 
not  for  the  herds  of  pettifoggers.  These  tam- 
per with  the  passions  of  the  poorer  and  more 
ignorant  classes,  who,  as  if  poverty  were  not  a 
sufficient  misery  in  itself,  are  ever  ready  to 
imbitter  it  by  litigation.  These,  like  quacks 
in  medicine,  excite  the  malady  to  profit  by  the 
cure,  and  retard  the  cure  to  augment  the  fees. 
As  the  quack  exhausts  the  constitution,  the 
pettifogger  exhausts  the  purse  ; and  as  he  who 
has  once  been  under  the  hands  of  a quack  is  for- 
ever after  prone  to  dabble  in  drugs,  and  poison 
himself  with  infallible  prescriptions,  so  the  client 
of  the  pettifogger  is  ever  after  prone  to  embroil 
himself  with  his  neighbors,  and  impoverish 
himself  with  successful  lawsuits.  My  readers 
will  excuse  this  digression  into  which  I have 
been  unwarily  betrayed  ; but  I could  not  avoid 
giving  a cool  and  unprejudiced  account  of  an 
abomination  too  prevalent  in  this  excellent 
city,  and  with  the  effects  of  which  I am  rue- 
fully acquainted  : having  been  nearly  ruined 


Zbc  Cr^incj  Sin  of  {poverty 

by  a lawsuit  which  was  decided  against  me ; 
and  my  ruin  having  been  completed  by  another, 
which  was  decided  in  my  favor. 

To  return  to  our  theme.  There  was  nothing 
in  the  whole  range  of  moral  offences  against 
which  the  jurisprudence  of  William  the  Testy 
was  more  strenuously  directed  than  the  crying 
sin  of  poverty.  He  pronounced  it  the  root  of 
all  evil,  and  determined  to  cut  it  up,  root  and 
branch,  and  extirpate  it  from  the  land.  He  had 
been  struck,  in  the  course  of  his  travels  in  the 
old  countries  of  Europe,  with  the  wisdom  of 
those  notices  posted  up  in  country  towns,  that 
“any  vagrant  found  begging  there  would  be 
put  in  the  stocks,”  and  he  had  observed  that 
no  beggars  were  to  be  seen  in  these  neighbor- 
hoods ; having  doubtless  thrown  off  their  rags 
and  their  poverty,  and  become  rich  under  the 
terror  of  the  law.  He  determined  to  improve 
upon  this  hint.  In  a little  while  a new 
machine,  of  his  own  invention,  was  erected 
hard  by  Dog’s  Misery.  This  was  nothing 
more  nor  less  than  a gibbet,  of  a very  strange, 
uncouth,  and  unmatchable  construction,  far 
more  efficacious,  as  he  boasted,  than  the  stocks, 
for  the  punishment  of  poverty.  It  was  for 
altitude  not  a whit  inferior  to  that  of  Haman 
so  renowned  in  Bible  history  ; but  the  marvel 
of  the  contrivance  was,  that  the  culprit,  instead 


B Ibistors  of  IRcw  lock 

of  being  suspended  b}^  the  neck,  according  to 
venerable  custom,  was  hoisted  by  the  waistband, 
and  kept  dangling  and  sprawling  between 
heaven  and  earth  for  an  hour  or  two  at  a time 
— to  the  infinite  entertainment  and  edification 
of  the  respectable  citizens  who  usually  attend 
exhibitions  of  the  kind. 

It  is  incredible  how  the  little  governor 
chuckled  at  beholding  caitiff  vagrants  and 
sturdy  beggars  thus  swinging  by  the  crupper, 
and  cutting  antic  gambols  in  the  air.  He  had 
a thousand  pleasantries  and  mirthful  conceits 
to  utter  upon  these  occasions.  He  called  them 
his  dandlelions — his  wild-fowl — his  high-fliers 
— his  spread-eagles — his  goshawks — his  scare- 
crows— and  finally,  his  gallows-birds ; which 
ingenious  appellation,  though  originally  con- 
fined to  worthies  who  had  taken  the  air  in  this 
strange  manner,  has  since  grown  to  be  a cant 
name  given  to  all  candidates  for  legal  eleva- 
tion. This  punishment,  moreover,  if  we  may 
credit  the  assertions  of  certain  grave  etymolo- 
gists, gave  the  first  hint  for  a kind  of  harness- 
ing, or  strapping,  by  which  our  forefathers 
braced  up  their  multifarious  breeches,  and 
which  has  of  late  years  been  revived,  and  con- 
tinues to  be  worn  at  the  present  day. 

Such  was  the  punishment  of  all  petty  delin- 
quents, vagrants,  and  beggars  and  others 

Chapter  M. 

YANKEES — the  great  OYSTER  WAR. 

EXT  to  his  projects  for  the 
suppression  of  poverty 
may  be  classed  those  of 
William  the  Testy  for 
increasing  the  wealth  of 
New  Amsterdam.  Solo- 
mon, of  whose  character 
for  wisdom  the  little  gov- 
ernor was  somewhat  emu- 
lous, had  made  gold  and 
silver  as  plenty  as  the 
stones  in  the  streets  of  Jerusalem.  William 
Kieft  could  not  pretend  to  vie  with  himx  as  to  the 
precious  metals,  but  he  determined,  as  an  equi- 
valent, to  flood  the  streets  of  New  Amsterdam 
with  Indian  money.  This  was  nothing  more 
nor  less  than  strings  of  beads  wrought  of  clams, 
periwinkles,  and  other  shell-fish,  and  called 
seawant  or  wampum.  These  had  formed  a 

i i- 

native  currency  among  the  simple  savages, 
who  were  content  to  take  them  of  the  Dutch- 
men in  exchange  for  peltries.  In  an  unlucky 
moment,  William  the  Testy,  seeing  this  money 
of  easy  production,  conceived  the  project  of 
making  it  the  current  coin  of  the  province. 
It  is  true  it  had  an  intrinsic  value  among  the 
Indians,  who  used  it  to  ornament  their  robes 
and  moccasins,  but  among  the  honest  burgh- 
ers it  had  no  more  intrinsic  value  than  those 
rags  which  form  the  paper  currency  of  modern 
days.  This  consideration,  however,  had  no 
weight  with  William  Kieft.  He  began  by 
paying  all  the  servants  of  the  company,  and  all 
the  debts  of  government,  in  strings  of  wampum. 
He  sent  emissaries  to  sweep  the  shores  of 
Tong  Island,  which  was  the  Ophir  of  this 
modern  Solomon,  and  abounded  in  shell-fish. 
These  were  transported  in  loads  to  New  Am- 
sterdam, coined  into  Indian  money,  and 
launched  into  circulation. 

And  now,  for  a time,  affairs  went  on  swim- 
mingly ; money  became  as  plentiful  as  in  the 
modern  days  of  paper  currency,  and,  to  use 
the  popular  phrase,  ‘ ‘ a wonderful  impulse  was 
given  to  public  prosperity.”  Yankee  traders 
poured  into  the  province,  buying  everything 
they  could  lay  their  hands  on,  and  paying  the 
worthy  Dutchmen  their  own  price — in  Indian 



B mew  Currency 

money.  If  the  latter,  however,  attempted  to 
pay  the  Yankees  in  the  same  coin  for  their  tin 
ware  and  wooden  bowls,  the  case  was  altered  ; 
nothing  would  do  but  Dutch  guilders  and  such 
like  ‘ ‘ metallic  currency.  ’ ’ What  was  wonse, 
the  Yankees  introduced  an  inferior  kind  of 
watnpum  made  of  oyster-shells,  with  which 
they  deluged  the  province,  carr^dng  oif  in 
exchange  all  the  silver  and  gold,  the  Dutch 
herrings,  and  Dutch  cheeses  : thus  earl)"  did 
the  knowing  men  of  the  east  manifest  their 
skill  in  bargaining  the  New  Amsterdammers 
out  of  the  oyster,  and  leaving  them  the  shell.* 

It  was  a long  time  before  William  the  Testy 
was  made  sensible  how  completely  his  grand 
project  of  finance  was  turned  against  him  by 
his  eastern  neighbors  ; nor  would  he  probably 
have  ever  found  it  out,  had  not  tidings  been 
brought  him  that  the  Yankees  had  made  a 
descent  upon  Long  Island,  and  had  established 

* In  a manuscript  record  of  the  province,  dated, 
1659,  Library  of  the  New  York  Historical  Society,  is 
the  following  mention  of  Indian  money  : 

Seawant  alias  wampum.  Beads  manufactured 
from  the  Quahaug  or  wilk : a shell-fish  formerly 
abounding  on  our  coasts,  but  lately  of  more  rare 
occurrence,  of  two  colors,  black  and  white  ; the  former 
twice  the  value  of  the  latter.  Six  beads  of  the  white 
and  three  of  the  black  for  an  English  penny.  The 
seawant  depreciates  from  time  to  time.  The  New- 

' V 


21  1bl6tor^  ot  IRevv  ^ovk 

a kind  of  mint  at  Oyster  Bay,  where  they  were 
coining  up  all  the  oyster-banks. 

Now  this  was  making  a vital  attack  upon 
the  province  in  a double  sense,  financial  and 
gastronomical.  Ever  since  the  council- dinner 
of  Oloffe  the  Dreamer  at  the  founding  of  New 
Amsterdam,  at  which  banquet  the  oyster  fig- 
ured so  conspicuously,  this  divine  shell-fish  has 
been  held  in  a kind  of  superstitious  reverence 
at  the  Manhattoes ; as  witness  the  temples 
erected  to  its  cult  in  every  street  and  lane  and 
alley.  In  fact,  it  is  the  standard  luxury  of 
the  place,  as  is  the  terrapin  at  Philadelphia, 
the  soft  crab  at  Baltimore,  or  the  canvas-back 
at  Washington. 

The  seizure  of  Oyster  Bay,  therefore,  was  an 
outrage  not  merely  on  the  pockets,  but  the 
larders  of  the  New  Amsterdammers  ; the  whole 
community  was  aroused,  and  an  oyster  crusade 
was  immediately  set  on  foot  against  the  Yan- 

England  people  make  use  of  it  as  a means  of  barter, 
not  only  to  carry  away  the  best  cargoes  which  we  send 
thither,  but  to  accumulate  a large  quantity  of  beavers 
and  other  furs  ; by  which  the  company  is  defrauded  of 
her  revenues,  and  the  merchants  disappointed  in  mak- 
ing returns  with  that  speed  with  which  they  might 
wish  to  meet  their  engagements ; while  their  com- 
missioners and  the  inhabitants  remain  overstocked 
with  seawant, — a sort  of  currency  of  no  value  except 
with  the  New  Netherland  savages,  etc.” 

^be  Great  Ouster  Mar 


kees.  Every  stout  trencherman  hastened  to 
the  standard  ; nay,  some  of  the  most  corpulent 
burgomasters  and  schepens  joined  the  expedi- 
tion as  a corps  de  reserve,  only  to  be  called  into 
action  when  the  sacking  commenced. 

The  conduct  of  the  expedition  was  intrusted 
to  a valiant  Dutchman,  who  for  size  and  weight 
might  have  matched  with  Colbrand  the  Danish 
champion,  slain  by  Guy  of  Warwick.  He  was 
famous  throughout  the  province  for  strength 
of  arm  and  skill  at  quarter-staff,  and  hence 
was  named  Stoffel  Brinkerhoflf,  or  rather  Brin- 
kerhoofd,  that  is  to  say  Stoffel,  the  head- 

This  sturdy  commander,  who  was  a man  of 
few  words  but  vigorous  deeds,  led  his  troops 
resolutely  on  through  Nineveh,  and  Babylon, 
and  Jericho,  and  Patch-hog,  and  other  Long 
Island  towns,  without  encountering  aii}^  diffi- 
culty of  note  ; though  it  is  said  that  some  of 
the  burgomasters  gave  out  at  Hardscramble 
Hill  and  Hungry  Hollow,  and  that  others  lost 
heart  and  turned  back  at  Pusspanick.  With 
the  rest  he  made  good  his  march  until  he 
arrived  in  the  neighborhood  of  Oyster  Bay. 

Here  he  was  encountered  by  a host  of 
Yankee  warriors,  headed  by  Preserved  Fish, 
and  Habakkuk  Nutter,  and  Return  Strong, 
and  Zerubabbel  Fisk,  and  Determined  Cock  ! 

362  % IbiBtorK?  of  IRcvv 

at  the  sound  of  whose  names  Stoffel  Brin- 
kerhoff  verily  believed  the  whole  parliament 
of  Praise-God  Barebones  had  been  let  loose 
upon  him.  He  soon  found,  however,  that 
they  were  merely  the  ‘ ‘ selectmen  ’ • of  the 
settlement,  armed  with  no  weapon  but  the 
tongue,  and  disposed  only  to  meet  him  on  the 
field  of  argument.  Stoffel  had  but  one  mode 
of  arguing,  that  was,  with  the  cudgel ; but  he 
used  it  with  such  effect  that  he  routed  his 
antagonists,  broke  up  the  settlement,  and 
would  have  driven  the  inhabitants  into  the 
sea  if  they  had  not  managed  to  escape  across 
the  Sound  to  the  mainland  by  the  Devil’s 
stepping-stones,  which  remain  to  this  day 
monuments  of  this  great  Dutch  victory  over 
the  Yankees. 

Stoffel  Brinkerhoff  made  great  spoil  of  oys- 
ters and  clams,  coined  and  uncoined,  and 
then  set  out  on  his  return  to  the  Manhattoes. 
A grand  triumph,  after  the  manner  of  the 
ancients,  was  prepared  for  him  by  William  the 
Testy.  He  entered  new  Amsterdam  as  a 
conqueror,  mounted  on  a Narraganset  pacer. 
Five  dried  codfish  on  poles,  standards  taken 
from  the  enemy,  were  borne  before  him,  and 
an  immense  store  of  oysters  and  clams,  Weath- 
ersfield  onions,  and  Yankee  “notions”  formed 
the  spolia  opinia ; while  several  coiners  of 

B Ifoistor^  of  IRew 

oyster-shells  were  led  captive  to  grace  the 
hero’s  triumph. 

The  procession  was  accompanied  by  a full 
band  of  boys  and  negroes,  performing  on  the 
popular  instruments  of  rattle-bones  and  clam- 
shells, while  Antony  Van  Corlear  sounded  his 
trumpet  from  the  ramparts. 

A great  banquet  was  served  up  in  the  stadt- 
house  from  the  clams  and  oysters  taken  from 
the  enem}^ ; while  the  governor  sent  the  shells 
privately  to  the  mint,  and  had  them  coined 
into  Indian  money,  with  which  he  paid  his 

It  is  moreover  said  that  the  governor,  calling 
to  mind  the  practice  among  the  ancients  to 
honor  their  victorious  general  with  public 
statutes,  passed  a magnanimous  decree,  by 





- i 9 m 

tOSi  czy. 

Alls  1 i f?{;j 

S '* 

UN  3 0 '^UUS 

kibb  t j M 


JUN  1 3 


DEMCO  38-297